Santa Monica receives a $2.1m “Housing-Related Parks Grant” from the State

The City of Santa Monica is committed to preserving existing affordable housing in Santa Monica and creating new housing opportunities for residents with low and moderate incomes. This month, that commitment resulted in over $2 million in grant funding that will help pay for construction of a new park near the new Expo Light Rail line. On July 1, the City was notified that its grant application was approved and it would be awarded $2,139,850 from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) “Housing-Related Parks Program.” The program provides financial incentives to cities and counties that increase the supply of housing that is affordable to lower-income households. Cities or counties that have achieved significant success in producing and preserving affordable housing and that have a certified Housing Element are eligible. Staff from Public Works/Architecture Services, Planning, Community & Cultural Services, and Housing collaborated on the application to fund a portion of a new 2.3-acre linear park known to date as the “Buffer Park” utilizing Housing-Related Park Grant Funds. Award of the grant will allow the City to begin construction on this new public amenity.
The City of Santa Monica’s grant amount was the fifth highest in the state, greater than many cites with much larger residential bases. “This grant award reflects the City’s longstanding commitment to provide a comprehensive housing program that allows Santa Monica’s diverse community to thrive,” said Andy Agle, Santa Monica’s Director of Housing and Economic Development. Grant amounts are determined by a formula that considers the amount of affordable housing that is created in each community, market-rate housing that is rehabilitated and dedicated as affordable housing, and the number of bedrooms in newly created affordable housing. Bonus points are given for affordable housing developed in urbanized areas, for increases in the overall supply of affordable housing, and for affordable housing that serves extremely low-income households. Bonus points are also given if funds will be used for parks in disadvantaged or park-deficient communities, and in urbanized areas.
Funds will be used to help pay for construction of a new 2.3-acre linear park on Exposition Boulevard, south of Stewart Street, known as the “Buffer Park”. The park is designed to shield the adjacent neighborhood from an Expo Light Rail maintenance yard, while providing a new open space resource offering spaces for picnicking, exercising, children’s play, demonstration gardens and gatherings for both large and small groups. Construction is anticipated to commence in summer 2015. “This new park, which benefited from community input on its design and functionality, will be an important addition to Santa Monica’s parks network and a high-quality amenity for the neighborhood,” said Karen Ginsberg, Santa Monica’s Director of Community and Cultural Services.

SMC Community Education Fall Session Begins Sept. 2

As registration moves along at a brisk pace for SMC Community Education’s hearty offerings in the Fall Session – which begins Sept. 2 – the program is giving a 10 percent discount on registration for all art classes until Aug. 15.
With 150 classes slated for fall, Community Ed is fine-tuning its offerings to reflect demand. For example, a Supervised-Play Bridge Club is being offered for the first time because of the dearth of local opportunities to play the popular card game, says Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education.
“As always, we provide a rich selection of courses in many disciplines – from the arts and writing to fitness to professional training – but we are working with a keener eye to design new courses that meet our community’s needs,” Meyering noted.
Other new classes include Property Management, The Business of Photography and “Paint Anything.”
Aside from classes, workshops and tours, Community Ed offers an extensive collection of Professional Development courses that can lead to high-paying careers or advancement in current careers. It also provides a good selection of online classes – all at reasonable prices and free, plentiful parking.
To register, call (310) 434-3400 or go to You can also email
– Edited by Matthew Hall

Rotary Club of Santa Monica partners with Vision to Learn to help children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica

Volunteers from The Rotary Club of Santa Monica partnered in July with Vision to Learn to help perform vision pre-screening for children. On Monday, July 7, a group of Rotarians gathered at the main branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica and on Tuesday, July 8, Rotarians volunteered at their JAMS location. Vision to Learn is an organization that provides free eye exams and free glasses to elementary school age children in low-income communities throughout California. Children who did not pass the preliminary eye exam will have the opportunity to have a free optometrist exam in Vision to Learn’s mobile clinic. If glasses are needed, the children may choose their own frames. Vision to Learn returns to fit the new glasses and to teach the children about proper care and maintenance.
Roy Shioda, technology director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, emphasized the importance of the joint project, stating that “this is the only opportunity that some of our kids will have in their youth to see an optometrist.”
“Our club is pleased to join with Vision to Learn to help the children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica,” said Sharon Perlmutter Gavin, the event organizer and Director of Community & Youth Service at the Rotary Club of Santa Monica. “It is so gratifying to know that together we are giving children a better chance to succeed.”
In May, the Rotary Club of Santa Monica teamed with Vision to Learn to screen the children at Santa Monica’s Upward Bound House.
The main branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica is located at 1238 Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. The organization’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential as caring, responsible and productive citizens. To find out more information about the Club’s programs and services, visit or call (310) 361-8500.
– MH

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