San Mateo officials are hoping the city’s dedication to providing affordable housing will help pay for improvements to Laurie Meadows and Los Prados parks by applying for a state grant.
“It’s really a positive niche sort of funding because it’s specific to parks. There’s a broad ability to apply these funds to a variety of projects; but again, all centered around parks and to bring a benefit to the community. So this is just another benefit of the affordable housing that we’re bringing to the market,” said Chris Wahl, the city’s housing and economic development specialist.
The state’s 2013 Housing-Related Parks program awards funds on a per-bedroom basis for each residential unit affordable to very-low and low-income individuals, according to a staff report. Funds awarded under the grant can be used for any park improvement including major maintenance, retrofits, acquisition and new construction of parks or recreational facilities, according to the report. The city has proposed renovations to the Laurie Meadows playground and to install synthetic turf and paths and community garden improvements at Los Prados Park, according the report.
Funding is awarded based on the amount of new or substantially redeveloped affordable housing units within San Mateo and the city expects to receive approximately $350,000, Wahl said. The grant has not been offered for several years and the city has 116 affordable housing units that were granted permits between the Jan. 1, 2010 and June 30, 2013 window, Wahl said.
Within the grant’s timeframe, affordable housing units were created at Bay Meadows Phase II, 2000 S. Delaware St. Apartments, 800 and 888 North San Mateo Drive Apartments and the Elkhorn Court Apartments, Wahl said.
“For each unit or bedroom that we bring to market we get a credit. So there’s a variety of things we get credited for … it also depends on the number of cities that apply for the grant,” Wahl said.
Every city that meets the requirements will receive funding based on its number of affordable housing units. However, if the program is oversubscribed then each city’s award is reduced appropriately, according to the report.
Notice of the awards will be sent out in February and the city may expect to receive funds sometime in June, Wahl said. The program does outline strict time restrictions. The city must identify a specific project during its application and it must complete the project within two years after receiving funding, Wahl said. Laurie Meadows and Los Prados were chosen because the city has clear objectives for these two parks that can be completed within the allotted time, Wahl said.
“Based on the timing of this, we really need to be focused on project ready projects,” Wahl said.
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