Vallejo earns $740,000, grant aimed at Sonoma Boulevard improvements http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_2060...
Vallejo has secured a new $743,000 planning grant to help design a vision for one of the city's main arteries, Sonoma Boulevard.
City Manager Dan Keen delivered news of the award Thursday night during a Vallejo City Council six-hour special goal-setting session. The announcement complemented an early priority-setting discussion, in which the need for new economic development was strongly underlined by council members.
Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said that like public safety, economic development will be key to Vallejo's future, as it continues to put space between itself and bankruptcy.
The city has focused on cost control for the past several years, and may soon finally begin development efforts, Councilwoman Marti Brown said.
"It's important to learn how to make money, to raise revenues, without going back to citizens for more (tax hikes)," Councilman Hermie Sunga said.
Work has been underway to establish the Sonoma Boulevard corridor specific plan, with several well-attended community meetings to draw public ideas for improvements. With help from the new grant, efforts to integrate the plan with some of the city's other major development planning documents will be "leveraged" and sped up, Keen told the council.
Funding that may have been drawn from the city's new sales tax revenue can instead be used to pay for portions of a General Plan update, city Economic Development Director Ursula Luna-Reynosa said.
"That's kind of a vote of confidence in our city and our staff," Keen said of the award.
The city earned the state Strategic Growth Council's "Sustainable Communities Planning Grant" on its second application for the award, Luna-Reynosa said. In a description to the state, the proposed project "updates targeted elements of the Vallejo General Plan and zoning regulations to support GHG (greenhouse gas) reductions and improve the linkage between land use and transportation."