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South End community asks Little Rock directors to be considered for ARPA funding

Several people at the Little Rock Board meeting talked about why this federal funding should go into South End saying the community is worthy of upgrades.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — After Little Rock received funding from the American Rescue Act Plan, directors on the city board spent some time deciding where the funds should go.

On Tuesday night, people from the South End neighborhood wanted to make sure their community was not forgotten when those funds are later disbursed.

The main focus for revitalization was Southside Park, which has been home to the Sunset Tigers youth football program -- a widely celebrated and successful league that has been run by Coach Ed Johnson for more than five decades.

"...but when they show up at this park that's been running this historic program for 51 years, it's going to look like trash," said a South End resident.

People who showed up wanted to advocate for the historically Black neighborhood.

The community said they want the ARPA dollars to go back into South End. 

"At the end of the day we know if we are not here, if we are not pushing for it and making sure they know our voices are here then a lot of the times it doesn't happen," said Malik Marshall, a member of the Arkansas Community Organization.

Mayor Frank Scott Junior said he's done just that...  some of the first rounds of the ARPA funding put more lights at the Southside Park, and it isn't going to stop there.

"We are putting the money where it needs to be like with the lights and we will do it again with the second round of funding pretty soon," said Mayor Frank Scott Junior.

A speaker at the podium said he will hold the mayor to his claim that funding will go to the South End neighborhood.

Before that can happen, the Little Rock directors have to vote on it and that is expected to happen later this year.

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