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Planning Commission to vote on capital improvements

Posted: June 4, 2012 6:02 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2012 6:02 p.m.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission is scheduled to decide Tuesday if the city should move forward with $46.4 million in proposed capital improvement projects - including bridge widening, street repairs and landscaping projects.

If the Planning Commission agrees the proposed capital improvement projects comply with its general plan, the City Council is set to approve the projects and the rest of the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget at its next meeting June 12. The fiscal year starts July 1.

The city is able to fund so many capital improvements - in same cases years after other cities have cut such improvements and some are contemplating bankruptcy - largely because of grants, said city Public Works Director Robert Newman.

Of the more than $46 million in capital improvement projects proposed, $12.3 million would be funded with various grants, Newman said.

"It's that ability to get grant funding and then match it with local funding," Newman said. "It's the ability to stretch and do more with less resources than the city has."

Along with all the projects that will be funded this year, the city has a wish list of about $666.83 million in projects that officials would like to move forward with - but will have to wait while the city finds funding for them.

Some major items on the wish list include extending Via Princessa from Isabella Parkway to Golden Valley Road, building a recreation center at Central Park and repaving about $191.47 million worth of streets.

The city decides to move forward with projects based on priority, need and available money, Newman said
"We try to move through them and we've been successful in getting most of them done," Newman said.

Santa Clarita is also planning to build a 285-space park-and-ride on Valencia Boulevard near its Santa Clarita Transit Center.

The $3.87 million project is mostly funded with $3.33 million in federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"We're finishing off the design," Newman said of the park-and-ride. "We'll probably see construction about a year from now."

The city is also planning to use grants to pay for the removal of a non-native plant called arundo from the Santa Clara River near Bouquet Canyon bridge downstream to Interstate 5, Newman said.

The $417,500 project will be paid for entirely with grants and would remove hundreds of acres of the destructive bamboo-like vegetation.

"It's invasive, so it really affects the water flow and native plants," Newman said. "It's fast growing."

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission will meet Tuesday
at 6 p.m. at City Council Chambers, City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.





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