City Council to Form Richmond Wellness Committee to Meet Recreation and Health Needs | Covid-19

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RICHMOND – An effort to ‘think outside the box’ on how best to use the city’s share of municipal COVID-19 relief funds has led city council members to form an 11-member wellness committee to determine the different ways in which the city could benefit by using the money for the development of leisure and wellness spaces.

City council on Tuesday authorized city lawyer Karen Ellsworth to draft a resolution that would formally establish the Richmond Welfare Committee and set out the guidelines and qualifications the city would seek from those on it. The committee will be tasked with three objectives, which include identifying the damage caused by the pandemic, describing the effects of that damage, and explaining how the proposed initiatives would serve to mitigate the effects.

Richmond City Council President Nell Carpenter said the committee is a first step in addressing a growing need for recreational spaces and community or senior programs, wishes expressed by a multitude of residents during a recent survey on the overall city plan.

“The overall plan talks about the goals, but we need to develop new community recreational facilities in the city,” she said. “We should be working on developing short and long term recommendations, and a wellness committee will meet that need.”

Board members also authorized Ellsworth to act “as quickly as possible” to advertise committee positions for the purpose of appointing members and making the committee work on a fast-track basis.

Carpenter, who had submitted a request to have the committee’s formation added to Tuesday’s agenda, said the concept was one that emerged when other communities in Rhode Island, including Westerly and Providence, got together. are committed to using COVID relief funds on projects that have improved recreation opportunities in the city.

In Providence, she noted that authorities were using part of the city’s funding from the US Rescue Plan for a center to help tackle homelessness and related issues, as well as to build a drop-in center in the city. city. Westerly has committed $ 400,000 in federal funds planned for the demolition of the Potter Hill Mill, although the actual commitment of funds would depend on the approval by a Superior Court judge of an administrative lien that would give the city priority. absolute to recover funds.

With these concepts in mind, Carpenter said the Richmond Welfare Committee would be encouraged to examine the far-reaching impacts that the pandemic and the economic shutdown have had on residents, as well as provide ideas for Detailed project on the best ways to create solutions that meet the most important community needs.

“We should be deeply outside the box and use these funds in a way that provides recreational opportunities that enhance the community at a time that is most critical,” she said. “Richmond can do the same with a select group of industry people who would be able to collect the data available to better serve our residents. “

Board members agreed on the need for a committee, but expressed a desire to see it more specifically made up of a diverse group of health and wellness experts. The council appeals to physicians and physicians, engineers and architects, social workers, education professionals, mental health professionals, military or veteran advocates, and first responders. Financial experts and other specialist exercise professionals would also be considered.

Councilor James Palmisciano also called for one of the seats to be assigned to Police Chief Elwood M. Johnson Jr. or a representative designated to serve on behalf of law enforcement. He said the chief’s perspective would be key to collecting accurate data.

“The boss has to be on it. We need someone who sees the impact of this pandemic and who has seen all of these social and domestic issues as a result of COVID, ”said Palmisciano. “We need feedback from those who see it every day. “

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