Mayor Tom Henry proposed setting aside $30 million from the Legacy Fund and using about $17 million for projects focused on economic development, downtown, the riverfront and youth, especially youth sports.
Up to $7 million of that spending could come within the next two years.
Henry made the proposal to City Council Tuesday, which has already been arguing for weeks over how the money should or should not be used.
The Legacy Fund is money from the lease and sale of the city's old electric utility, City Power & Light. The city has about $47 million in hand in the fund. Another $28 million will come in over the next 12 years.
Henry and administration officials told City Council members about the nearly two-year process to develop recommendations for the money, including sifting through more than 1,000 ideas from the community, and the broad goals for how to use it.
"We're in a position now to really serve our city with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Henry said.
The first proposal that will come before the council – a move that could happen within weeks – is to commission a comprehensive study of the downtown rivers and how to use them. Because of flooding and environmental issues, officials need to know where development can and should be encouraged. That study could cost up to $500,000, but could spur millions of dollars worth of development once it's done, officials said.
For more on this story see Wednesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Wednesday.