City Council Approves Parks and Recreation Department to Apply for Major Housing-Related Parks Grant

City Aims to Convert Downtown Library Park into Playground

Redwood City, Calif. – As part of the City of Redwood City’s ongoing commitment to providing affordable housing options, the City Council gave the green light to the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department to apply for a major California Department of Housing and Community Development grant to rehabilitate a nearby park.

Should the grant be approved in June, the City could get up to $104,550 or more in funds. The City Council approved an initial plan earmarking the potential funds to redevelop Roselli Park, a largely unused green space immediately adjacent to the Main Library. The library building sits on two city-owned parcels and is surrounded by surface parking lots, a railroad track, and Middlefield Road — a large, local thoroughfare. The Housing Related Parks (HRP) grant will allow the City to convert the park into a playground, making it more appealing to families from all walks of life – including those residing in nearby affordable housing.

“Redwood City has proven its commitment to affordable housing, so we’re optimistic we qualify for this grant,” said Aaron Aknin, director of the City of Redwood City’s Community Development Department. “The ultimate goal for this potential park redevelopment would be to improve the connectivity, visibility, safety and quality of outdoor spaces surrounding the library, which is an important gathering place for families.”

“We envision the park to feel welcoming for playing, reading and connecting with the community,” said Chris Beth, director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, who will be overseeing the potential project.

Aknin also pointed out that the project will correct another issue – the fact that Downtown, although a hotspot for dining and entertainment, is one of the most park-deficient areas of the City.

Next Steps
Should the grant be awarded in June, The City would soon afterwards send out Requests for Proposals to architectural firms interested in submitting designs for Roselli Park. The Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department will select a finalist, who will gather input from the Library Department, Library Board, and the community before finalizing the plan. The City Council will approve the final plan and give the green light for the redesign. Based on preliminary projections, the City aims to have the potential project completed by mid-2017.

Background
The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s HRP rewards local governments that approve housing for lower income households and are in compliance with State housing element law with grant funds to create or rehabilitate parks and/or recreational facilities. The HRP Program was funded through Proposition 1C, the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006.

The program awards grant funds for parks and recreation projects that benefit the community. Funds are awarded on a per-bedroom basis for each residential unit affordable to very low and low income households permitted during the designated program years. During 2011-2013, the City of Redwood City permitted two eligible residential developments — Cedar Street Apartments and the Radius Apartments — that included a total of 36 deed restricted very low and low income units – qualifying the City to receive a total of $104,550 including base and bonus awards. The HRP grant funds must be used to create or rehabilitate parks and/or recreational facilitates. Additional bonus awards are provided for park or recreational projects that will support any residential infill project located within a quarter mile radius.

About the City of Redwood City
The City of Redwood City is located in the middle of the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, extending from the San Francisco shoreline to the hillsides of the Santa Cruz Mountains. With over 76,815 residents Redwood City is the third largest city within the County of San Mateo and boasts the ‘Best Weather by Government Test’. Incorporated in 1867, Redwood City is home to the San Mateo County History Museum, the only active deep water Port within the South San Francisco Bay and a vibrant downtown offering residents, visitors and businesses a unique retail, entertainment and restaurant experience for all ages to enjoy. Visit www.redwoodcity.org for more information about the City of Redwood City or follow us on Twitter at @RedwoodCity

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