Arroyo Grande plans to fund another disability accessibility project with its allotted Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds in 2020, but City Council members say they hope to consider a wider variety of project applications next year.
- Photo Courtesy Of Whitney Mcdonald
- GETTING COMPLIANT While there are ADA parking spaces at the entrance of Ikea Field in the Soto Sports Complex, the path leading to the field is degraded asphalt not up to ADA code. Arroyo Grande plans to change that with its 2020 CDBG funds.
At a meeting on Feb. 25, Arroyo Grande City Council voted unanimously, although somewhat indifferently, to use $69,634 in 2020 CDBG funds to pay for a project that would make Soto Sports Complex compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That funding will be combined with $56,148 in CDBG funds left over from 2019 to add ADA accessible ramps at a field within the complex, along with paths that would allow for vehicle access.
The rest of the city's $17,408 in 2020 CDBG funds will go toward covering city and county administrative costs.
ADA accessibility is one of the city's biggest priorities, according to Whitney McDonald, Arroyo Grande's community development director. The CDBG program, which was designed in an effort to help communities benefit low- and moderate-income individuals and address urgent community development needs, considers ADA accessibly projects to be eligible through the program.
As a regional draw that residents from all over the Central Coast use, Soto Sports Complex needs to be compliant with ADA regulations, McDonald said.
Though Arroyo Grande City Councilmember Kristen Barneich said she thinks ADA accessibility is "absolutely necessary," Arroyo Grande has a long history of overlooking other CDBG applicants for its own ADA needs.
"I'm just trying to make sure that we're not just sort of rubber-stamping this year after year," Barneich said at the meeting.
Councilmember Lan George agreed. The city didn't receive many outside CDBG applications this year—one each from the Food Bank of SLO County, Peoples' Self-Help Housing, and the Five Cities Homeless Coalition—and George said that could be the city's fault.
"I do have issues," George said. "I feel like we don't have a lot of applications because it's out there in the wind that if people apply for this, they won't get it because it'll go to an ADA project."
Though council members agreed to do more outreach in the community regarding CDBG in the fall of 2020, City Manager Jim Bergman reminded them that ADA rules are state and federal laws that are constantly changing.
"We have to comply with ADA," he said. "We are liable." Δ