WAUKESHA — Update: The Waukesha City Council voted unanimously to pass the request to purchase $800,000 worth of vehicle barries to use during outdoor city festivals and parades on Thursday.
Council members are deciding whether to approve up to $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to purchase Mobile Vehicle Barriers (MVB) at the Waukesha City Council meeting on Thursday.
The MVBs designed to help protect crowds along parade routes and big events from traffic. They're created to stop vehicles from entering restricted areas.
Thursday's decision comes as plans for the Memorial Day parade are in the works in Waukesha and as the community continues to cope following the Christmas parade tragedy in November.
"There are a lot of people that have a difficult time being downtown and/or attending parades and all that, because they have experienced something extremely traumatic," said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly.
Six people were killed and dozens more were hurt when police say Darrell Brooks drove through the parade route.
Leaders say if the money is approved to purchase the barriers on Thursday, the MVBs could be in place at the Memorial Day parade, which will be the first major parade held since that tragic night.
"We pretty much went though the whole gamete of what could be used to secure parade routes," said Mayor Reilly.
For example, he said concrete barriers offer protection but are difficult to move. Public Works trucks, like plows, can also offer protection, but staffing each truck with a driver who has a commercial drivers licenses (CDL) is expensive.
Mayor Reilly said the MVBs offer flexibility and can be purchased using some of the $10 million in ARPA funds the City of Waukesha is set to receive over the next couple of years.
"Without ARPA funds, it would be a much more difficult process to get that approved. We would have to amend our budget," he said. "We would have to find the money is really what it is."
The barriers are a preventative tool that offer safety and peace of mind.
"It does help Waukesha heal. It's part of the puzzle," said Mayor Reilly.
The council meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The mayor said the decision is on the consent agenda, meaning unless there are any objections prior to the meeting, the money will be unanimously approved.