In a signing ceremony at the White House this morning, President Joe Biden approved $1.5 trillion in appropriations for fiscal 2022-2023, which included $9.5 million in projects for Santa Barbara County. | Credit: Courtesy

The U.S. House and Senate voted to approve $1.5 trillion in an appropriations bill that includes $9.5 million for direct funding of several construction projects in Santa Barbara County with no need for the usual grant application route. President Biden signed the bill in a White House ceremony this morning, pouring $250 million for projects across California.

In Santa Barbara County, the largest recipient is the Goleta Valley Community Center, which closed its auditorium in 2021 after the city discovered in 2017 that the roof trusses were resting on support beams and needed to be more securely fastened. Congressmember Salud Carbajal announced $3 million would help the city open a “key community asset” with improvements for seismic safety and access for disabled persons.

In thanking Carbajal and his staff for their efforts in restoring the Community Center, Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said, “The city is beyond grateful for their dedication to the City of Goleta.” Of late, the grounds that once housed Goleta Union School have become a reliable COVID testing center, the location for after-school and senior programs, a shelter in times of emergency with Wi-Fi access, and the epicenter of court availability for pickleball players. The city voted in February to take over management of the center to manage the capital improvements project, which is estimated to cost $8 million.

Another $1.3 million went to the Veterans Memorial Building on Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara for seismic upgrades. The building, a city historic landmark that faces West Beach, has had long-standing electrical issues, as the structure dates back to the 1920s, said facility manager Carmen Munoz.

Other projects approved for funding in the 2022 consolidated appropriations act — which increased non-defense discretionary programs by 6.7 percent, the largest in four years — are Escalante Meadows Community Center in Guadalupe, which received $2.5 million toward construction through the county Housing Authority; $1.7 million to restore LeRoy Park in Guadalupe, the city’s unofficial town square; $900,000 to create more capacity at the Lompoc Health Clinic; and $112,000 to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, who are looking to expand the wastewater treatment plant in Santa Ynez.

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