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Frank Ferry: City secures $55 million for community projects

Live From City Hall

Posted: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Santa Clarita’s geographic location and accessibility make it one of the most desired places in Southern California to live and do business. As the community grows, so does the need to complete major infrastructure projects vital to Santa Clarita’s sustainability.

With the advent of the Great Recession, the city of Santa Clarita redoubled its efforts to seek alternative funding resources to complete vital community projects. Thanks to a proactive aggressive approach, the city successfully attained over $55 million in federal grant funding from Jan. 1, 2009 to Dec. 31, 2010.

The largest source of grant funding during this period came as a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The city received over $17 million to fund 18 projects ranging from road and bridge improvements, energy-efficient retrofits, building and facade improvements, transit-system upgrades and many others.

Transit-system upgrades
Through ARRA grant funding, the city received over $4.6 million to construct two additional solar bus canopies and solar carports at the transit maintenance facility. Once installed, the canopies and carports will generate 95 percent of the electricity needed to power the entire facility.

Additionally, the bus canopies will provide significantly reduced operating and maintenance costs, offering more opportunities and funding to expand and further improve our transit system overall.

The Federal Transit Administration granted the city over $13 million in funding to replace and expand the city’s bus fleet with new compressed natural-gas buses.

Public safety
Through the State of California Citizens’ Option for Public Safety (COPS) Program, the city received $414,567, and $174,751 through ARRA funds, to pay for two deputies of the Career Offender Burglary Robbery Apprehension (COBRA) Unit.

The city also received $85,843 from the United States Department of Justice through the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program for gang, graffiti and truancy sweeps conducted by the COBRA Unit and the Sheriff Department’s Community Interaction Team.

Safe Routes to School
From the state and federal Safe Routes to School programs, the city received over $1.7 million for pedestrian improvements to crosswalks, signs and sidewalks at Valley View, Valencia Valley, North Park, Leona Cox, Rio Vista, Old Orchard, Canyon Springs, Meadows, Peachland, Mitchell, and Rosedell and Emblem elementary schools.

Open space
Los Angeles County and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy awarded over $2.4 million to the city for the acquisition and preservation of open space at Elsmere Canyon. The city also received $150,000 from the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District to help fund the expansion of public trails at East Walker Ranch.

Neighborhood Stabilization Program
Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the California Department of Housing and Community Development allocated $1,187,003 to the city to purchase the Caltrans park-and-ride lot on Newhall Avenue.

The city also received $2,369,504 from the federal government through its annual Community Development Block Grant entitlement for various purposes including: assisting the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, assisting Lutheran Social Services with the provision of local homeless services, providing residential rehabilitation grants and loans and operating costs.

Road and bridge improvements

The federal Highway Safety Improvement Program awarded $345,150 to upgrade the city’s pedestrian facilities, such as ramps and crosswalk signals at the intersections of Soledad Canyon Road and Crossglade Avenue and Railroad Avenue and Drayton Street. 

Through the same program, the city was also awarded $174,240 to construct a raised median at the Interstate 5/Lyons Avenue interchange. 

Over $9.2 million was received from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to fund projects including the widening and bicycle-trail gap closure of McBean Parkway over the Santa Clara River; the traffic signal synchronization program; construction of a traffic calming roundabout at Main Street and Newhall Avenue; and the citywide Way-finding Program for pedestrians and bicyclists.

California also granted the city $244,983 to install bikeways at Hillsborough Parkway, Grandview Parkway and Centre Pointe Parkway, and $141,723 to improve bike lanes throughout the Industrial Center. 

Additionally, the city was awarded $400,000 by Caltrans through their Highway Bridge Program to help fund the city’s ongoing Bridge Maintenance Program.

In tough economic times such as these, programs and projects are generally placed on hold when revenue sources decrease.

Thanks to the city of Santa Clarita’s aggressive approach to securing over $55 million in grant funding, the city was able to off set general fund expenditures and fund a number of projects and programs integral to our enjoyment of Santa Clarita.

Frank Ferry is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember and can be reached at: fferry@santa-clarita.com. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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