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Looking for ways to save Third and park Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Mar 03 2012 12:00 PM

The Chula Vista City Council made a compromise Tuesday which allows two cash-strapped city projects in southwest and downtown Chula Vista to move forward.

The future Southwest Library Park slated for Orange Avenue and the Third Avenue streetscape plan became competing projects when the city lost redevelopment funds.

An item from staff to consider reallocating $840,000 from southwest to downtown Chula Vista was placed on the Feb. 14 agenda but was continued to Tuesday.

During the previous meeting, council considered the item but asked staff to come back with answers to two questions, including whether or not the contractor for Third Avenue would hold their bid for 60 days and a date for eligibility for a $2.6 million state grant for the park.

City staff said the contractor is willing to wait and that the city will find out if they will receive the grant late this month. This is the second time the city has applied for the grant.

The Third Avenue project has been in the works for seven years, according to city staff and is part of the city’s master plan. In addition, the Third Avenue Village Association agreed to provide up to $100,000 for phase one of the project in an effort to keep the project moving forward.Twenty-one people spoke to the item, mostly in favor of transferring the funds to Third Avenue.

Deacon Greg Smith spoke as a representative of St. Rose of Lima parish located on Third Avenue and also as a board member of the Third Avenue Village Association.

“I’m in support of the reallocation of funds to complete the Third Avenue plan,” he said. It will create a business friendly atmosphere that will be a benefit for residents. We need this project to keep Third Avenue alive.”

Councilman Steve Castaneda said the solution is not to pit one community against the other.

“Our neighborhoods are all important to us,” he said. “But I can’t in good conscious, take money from one community and give it to another.”

Castaneda made a motion to have city staff prepare a resolution and move $840,000 from the general fund reserve for the southwest library in hope the state grant comes through.

“The economic risk that the city is in is extraordinary,” Cox said. “We as a council adopted a policy that says if we dip into reserves we have to be able to replace it.”

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