Funds offered by city for sidewalk improvements

DEL MAR — Following a change in guidelines for the Community Development Block Grant program, Del Mar now has a little extra money to help bring city sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
At the April 6 meeting, council members re-assigned more than $36,000 in grant money from the city’s housing assistance fund to the capital improvement program.
Del Mar has participated in the federally funded program since its inception in 1974 by the Department of Housing and Community Development. For years, the city’s rental subsidy program, which provides financial assistance to low-income households, was considered an appropriate use of the money.
Funds are awarded to cities based on factors such as population, housing overcrowding and the number of residents with incomes at or below the poverty level. According to a recent ruling by the Department of Housing and Community Development, a project is eligible for grant money only if at least 46 percent of the city’s population is at the low- to moderate-income level.
With no such demographic, Del Mar was allowed to redirect the money — $18,170 from the current and next fiscal year budgets — to an applicable project. Bringing sidewalks and sidewalk ramps along Camino del Mar into compliance with the ADA was deemed appropriate and eligible.
That upgrade is currently on the city’s to-do list, but capital improvement funds have not been allocated. Since $36,000 will not fully fund the project, staff is seeking additional grant and stimulus aid for the improvements.
Housing assistance money comes primarily from developer mitigation fees. The program, which provides an annual subsidy of $67,000, currently has a balance of $835,370, so rental aid is expected to continue “for the foreseeable future,” according to the staff report.

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