MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)–A meeting in Mattoon got heated Tuesday, as city council members and the community debated how to use American Rescue Plan money. 

“All we’re asking is do something, nothing has been done in 50 years,” said one resident. 

“This water issue is as old as you are and I am, nothing gets done,” said another resident. 

On the agenda were three proposals, each valued at half a million dollars to go to various projects. The first, going towards infrastructure for a new sports complex,” 

“To me, the whole west end of town needs work, get that fixed, and don’t worry about a sports complex that may or may not be pie in the sky,” said one resident. 

The second proposal would go towards developing affordable housing.  

“I’m definitely a supporter of improving housing but we really don’t have a plan yet and commitments from developers, contractors,” said Mayor Rick Hall. 

The third proposal would go towards the city drainage project to help the issues the west side of town is having. That’s why so many people showed up.  

“How much is it going to cost if we put it off another 10 years, that 1.2 million is going to double, and you’re going to say the same song and dance then,” said one woman. 

The public works department does have a plan for the westside drainage project. It’s just out of the city’s budget. So while the city looks for other grants to cover the cost, the council agreed to allocate up to half a million dollars to build a waterway to address some of the issues people have.  

Council also approved money to go towards the sports complex. The housing proposal was withdrawn by the mayor. Hall says it’s still an important issue, he wants the council to do more research. 

The city has until 2024 to allocate all its ARPA money, and until 2026 to spend it.