The Chula Vista City Council voted to continue an item that could potentially take money away from a southwest project and put it into downtown Chula Vista.
City staff asked the council Tuesday night to consider the transfer of $840,000 to the Third Avenue Streetscape project from Orange Avenue Library Park construction.
Council members voted to continue the item until Feb. 28, after residents and some council members spoke against the issue.
Deputy City Manager Gary Halbert said Tuesday night that the Third Avenue project will be a catalyst for Third Avenue.
He explained that the city ran into funding constraints with the loss of redevelopment funds and reached out to the Third Avenue Village Association, which will provide up to $100,000 for phase one of the project.
“There isn’t enough money to build the park anyway and phasing it doesn’t make sense,” Halbert said.
The city is asking for a grant from the state of $2.6 million, which Halbert said staff should know more about late this spring.
Southwest Chula Vista resident Theresa Acerro said the proposal is just another example of the city taking money away from the southwest area.
“This is a section of the city with the least number of parks,” Acerro said. “This is an insult again to our neighborhood.”
Southwest Chula Vista resident Jerry Thomas was also against the transfer of money.
“The library park will be the glue — the gathering place that unifies the whole area,” he said. “Please do not disappoint the southwest once again.”
The 3.9-acre park was first discussed by city staff during a public meeting in southwest Chula Vista in June last year, where residents said the park was a good idea.
Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda said the southwest area deserves to be treated fairly and likened the transfer of money to the state’s raid of city funds.
Chula Vista Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan said she feels torn.
“I don’t want to jeopardize the Orange Avenue park, but the Third Avenue project has been going on for years and years,” she said.
Bensoussan asked about committing less funds to keep the Third Avenue project alive.
“If we don’t move forward on the project soon enough, we could lose $640,000 in (local redevelopment) funds,” City principal civil engineer Kirk Ammerman said. “They will go away.”