SAN DIEGO (CNS) — San Diego leaders highlighted some major projects and programs Wednesday that will receive millions of dollars from California’s $262.6 billion budget, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed last week.
“The dollars that San Diego is receiving from the state will upgrade critical infrastructure, help us fight homelessness, ensure a reliable supply of clean water, enhance our arts and culture and much more,” Mayor Todd Gloria said at a news conference held at Ocean Beach pier.
City Council President Jennifer Campbell thanked the legislators for their efforts in securing funding for the Ocean Beach Pier, which has been repeatedly damaged by storms and is facing serious questions about its future.
The pier partially reopened just before Memorial Day weekend after engineers and city maintenance fixed up the bridge enough that part of it was safe for public use, though access was only allowed up to the bait shop and café.
City leaders are still mulling the structure’s long-term future, with three primary options: repairing existing damage (likely leaving the need for further repairs in the future), rehabilitating the pier more extensively at an estimated cost of $30 to $50 million, or completely tearing down the structure and building a new one.
The $8 million coming in from the state budget roughly matches the estimated cost of the first option — repairing existing damage. It wasn’t immediately clear, however, how leaders planned to put it to use.
Other priorities topping the list of beneficiaries include San Diego’s Pure Water program, a project intended to convert wastewater to drinkable water and provide roughly half of San Diego’s water supply by 2035. It received $50 million from the state budget.
Gloria advocated for a massive investment in fighting homelessness along with members of California’s “Big City Mayors” coalition. The state will invest $12 billion over the next two years in efforts to address homelessness, including $1 billion in direct funding to cities. Of that, San Diego is expected to receive at least $27.3 million this year.
“Ten years ago, my neighbors sent me to Sacramento to vote on my first state budget,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.
“This year, I was proud to stand up for our community once again and vote on a budget that makes huge investments in the San Diego region,” she continued. “With millions of dollars directly benefiting our neighborhoods, parks, libraries, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and local infrastructure enhancements, this budget will not only benefit San Diegans this year, but for years to come.”
Other big-money items in the budget impacting local communities include:
- $35 million to replace an aging research vessel used by Scripps Institution of Oceanography;
- $35 million for the renovation and remodel of a historic theater and community room at the San Diego Community College District’s Educational Cultural Complex;
- $30 million for planning, design, site development and construction of a replacement UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center;
- $18 million for an energy-storage project at San Vicente Reservoir;
- $8.4 million to help rehabilitate the Ocean Beach Pier;
- $3.7 million for building renovations at the Casa del Prado in Balboa Park;
- $3.1 million to prevent polluted stormwater runoff from entering Chollas Creek in the community of Southcrest;
- $3 million for capital improvements at the San Diego Symphony’s new Rady Shell bayfront concert venue;
- $2.5 million for renovations at the Barnes Tennis Center in Point Loma; and
- $1 million for gun violence restraining order trainings for law enforcement agencies.
Joining Gloria, Campbell and Atkins were Assemblyman Chris Ward, D-San Diego and City Councilman Sean Elo-Rivera.
“The Legislature worked hard to enact a state budget that significantly addresses our most immediate challenges, including homelessness, climate, education and small business support,” Ward said. “I am particularly grateful for the local funding identified to address longstanding needs for the greater San Diego community.”
Elo-Rivera said he was grateful for funds to help underserved districts.
“From cleaner creeks in Southcrest, to Chollas Lake improvements, to safer streets in Rolando, these are transformative investments that address historic underinvestment and will move us closer to our goal of creating a city that is more sustainable, safe, and livable for all San Diegans,” he said.
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