San Diego

City Leaders Press for Using Community Development Block Grant Funding for Community Upgrades

 Ahead of a San Diego City Council vote, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and other leaders stepped out to press for increased funding for neighborhood upgrades.

Councilmembers Myrtle Cole and Mark Kersey joined Faulconer at Malcolm X library/Valencia Park Monday, stressing the importance of such funding.

"Today is about bringing new learning opportunities to San Diego's youth, and today is about spending tax dollars smarter so our neighborhoods get more benefits," Faulconer said.

Faulconer won City Council approval to redirect a larger portion of funds from the Community Development Block Grant (SDBG) to use toward the City’s infrastructure needs in 2014. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Previously, the city only spent $750,000 annually on similar improvements; the money would go to non profit organizations which would then make the improvements. If the current CDBG plan is approved by City Council, the $7.6 million grant will be spent on the Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library and four rec centers for improvements that benefit the youth.

"I think it's a great plan for the teenagers that live in this neighborhood," said Mari Holbrook, a Malcolm X Library visitor. "They need all the resources that they can get to push them in their lives so they can do better for themselves."

Some of those resources would include new computers and a recording studio for teens. 

Encanto Neighborhood Planning member Ken Malbrough grew up in the area and says an after school program is why he became a firefighter. When several made a special visit to the program, he was inspired.

"And a light went on in my head and I said this is something that I'd like to be. I thought it was pretty cool," Malbrough said.

He was among those there when city leaders spoke to the community. The next generation of kids are the way of the future, Malbrough said, and he hoped improvements would benefit them. 

"My whole point in telling this story is that I'm hoping that a child will walk in that teen tech center and that light bulb will go on," Malbrough said. 

Some of the other improvements include repairs to current buildings, making them energy efficient, and adding solar panels.

Tuesday, councilmembers will vote on the proposal.

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