City 3-19

The City of Santa Barbara is applying for federal stimulus funds for two projects involving El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant-one to remove large solids from the waste stream and the other to convert food scraps and grease to biofuels that would power the facility. City Hall has $1.7 million set aside for these projects, which are projected to cost more than $4 million. The federal funds would bridge that gap.


Santa Barbara’s bed tax revenues declined by 20.8 percent in February, marking the sixth straight monthly decline in the fees charged to motel and hotel guests within city limits since last September. Three of those six months posted double-digit declines. February’s decline is the largest of the six when measured by percent; in actual dollars it was a $170,000 decline as compared to last February.


Westside business owners and residents met at The Neighborhood bar on 3/12 to express frustrations with the homeless as a growing impediment to their livelihoods and safety. The group included City Council members Dale Francisco and Iya Falcone, as well as three police officers. Some suggested policy changes and reducing the number of beds in the homeless shelter. Falcone cited a new 12-point plan being drafted that will give police more tools to cite and arrest homeless. (/homeless219)


The L.A. District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on 3/13 that it has postponed maintenance dredging in the Santa Barbara Harbor. Organizers said that the $50,000 project could potentially still finish by its estimated completion date of mid April. The decision came following recommendations by the City of Santa Barbara and the National Marine Fisheries Service in light of the 25-foot gray whale seen in the harbor this past week. (/dredging219)


On 3/13, City Parks and Recreation announced that Parma Park-much of which was decimated by the Tea Fire-reopened to the public. Assistant parks director Jill Zachary cautioned that portions of Parma Park remain closed due to ongoing restoration and rehabilitation activities, and also reminded park users to stay on designated trails. (/parma219)


On 3/5, Rob Pearson, executive director of the City Housing Authority, presented West Downtown representatives with plans to turn the vacant lot at 512 Bath Street into an apartment complex for low-income, homeless, elderly, and “special needs” residents. Residents expressed their belief that more homeless shelters and rehab facilities would endanger them. (/bathst219)

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