City Spotlight: Cincinnati

The City of Cincinnati gained a national spotlight in February 2022 when the Cincinnati Bengals traveled to Los Angeles to compete in Super Bowl LVI. In the wake of the country learning the origins of “Who Dey” and Mayor Aftab Pureval and Cincinnati residents and natives all over the country hyping up the city at every opportunity, we thought we would take the time to spotlight the ways Cincinnati is making use of historic federal funding opportunities and strategizing about its future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cincinnati owns the distinction of being the first Ohio city to allocate its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds shortly after the law was enacted in March 2021. By May 2021, Cincinnati had funded affordable housing and arts programs in the city, and dedicated significant money toward small business support, tourism, public museums, and neighborhoods. 

Mayor Pureval has hit the ground running since taking office in January 2022, with plans to develop new affordable and mixed-income housing as well as tackle gun violence, racial equity, and poverty. In the run-up to the Super Bowl, Mayor Pureval noted in this NPR interview that Cincinnati is building the largest city-run solar farm in the country and has unprecedented opportunities to do big things in the coming years. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Mayor Pureval announced that the city would allocate $5 million from its ARPA funds to Cincinnati’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This funding is being enhanced by an additional $15 million in private funding.

In April, Cincinnati City Council and Mayor Pureval announced plans to use leftover ARP funds from 2021 to invest in summer public safety and improve bike safety and help residents purchase homes.

Cincinnati will receive just over $279 million in ARPA funds, divided between 2021 and 2022, and has been able to maintain critical public services by allocating over $100 million to budget stabilization in 2021, in addition to its investments in businesses, residents, and cultural and neighborhood institutions that make Cincinnati unique. We look forward to seeing what big things Cincinnati does in 2022 and 2023.

To read more about how Cincinnati and 27 other Ohio Mayors Alliance cities are thinking about spending ARP funds, read our January 2022 ARPA report here.