The projects, which include improvements to parks, streets and a library, have been able to continue despite the city’s financial struggles because of outside funding sources, such as Measure R — a 2008 half-cent sales tax administered by Los Angeles County — as well as federal and state grants and gas taxes.
fees paid for by developers and bond funds to cover the costs.
“Despite a weak economy and fiscal challenges, we are actually managing a robust capital improvement program,” Golanian said during a City Council meeting this week.
The 14 projects started last year include a $6-million renovation to Brand Library & Art Center, which is scheduled to reopen next month, $1.9 million in street improvements to Glenoaks Boulevard and $543,000 spent on storm drains.
There are 20 projects planned for this year, totaling $37 million, Golanian said.
They include the continuation of a massive $5.3-million Alex Theatre expansion, the construction of the Museum of Neon Art, and Pacific Avenue wastewater and street improvements. The theater and museum projects are being paid for with funds from the city’s defunct redevelopment agency, a program that directed extra property taxes to improve blighted areas until California lawmakers ended it in 2012 due to a multibillion-dollar budget gap.
Fifteen projects totaling about $41 million are in the pipeline for 2015, such as a $15 million Central Library renovation, which will include moving the library’s entrance from Louise Street to Harvard Street. Officials are finalizing design plans for the work and plan to go out for construction bids in the coming months, Golanian said.
The city has spent $4.3 million in Measure R funding, so far. Over a 10-year period, officials expect to reap $35 million from the tax. Some of the money has been spent on train-crossing improvements throughout the San Fernando Road corridor, Golanian said.
“We make a big investment for our city, for the residents who live here,” said Mayor Dave Weaver.
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