The neighborhoods of southern Glendale--which have the city's most dilapidated housing, most crowded schools and most low-income families--will receive the bulk of this year's federal block-grant money.
The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously that nearly $1.5 million of the $2.01 million in Community Development Block Grant funds available should go to programs aimed at improving the southwest corner of Glendale, generally south of Colorado Street and east of Glendale Avenue.
The decision to focus funds on what is considered the neediest area in town marks a shift from previous years in which Community Development money was appropriated throughout the city.
'Like Fixing Your Own Home'
"It's like when you are fixing up your own home," said Mayor Jerold F. Milner. "If you paint a little bit here and little bit there, you never completely redecorate. But if you do one whole room at a time, the work seems to go further."
As recommended by the city's Community Development Department, the council appropriated $524,000 from the federal block grants for replacement of water pipelines and fire hydrants and for street reconstruction in southern Glendale, $85,600 for housing inspections of the area and $262,400 in grants and low-interest loans for housing renovations there.
Councilman John Day said he thought that street and water-line reconstruction should be financed through regular city funds, not with community development grants. He voted for the package, he said, with reservations.
Other members of the council strongly supported use of block-grant money for those projects. "We know the need is there," Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg said.
Common Use of Grants
In recommending approval of her proposals, Glendale Community Development administrator Madalyn Blake said that "improving the infrastructure is one of the best things that can be done for a deteriorating neighborhood." She said such use of the grants is common nationwide.
Also approved was $500,000 for the Glendale Unified School District for construction of a seven-classroom building at Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School to replace three deteriorating temporary classrooms.
The project will cost $1.2 million. The council gave $500,000 from last year's block grant funds for the project and the school board is to appropriate the remaining $200,000.
Because of an influx of Latino, Asian and Armenian families to southern Glendale, Roosevelt is the most crowded school in the city. It is surrounded by 17 temporary bungalows considered to be fire hazards.
In addition, the council appropriated $94,858 for a neighborhood beautification program that will hire young people from the neighborhood to spruce up parks, plant trees and remove graffiti from buildings. Unemployment is particularly high among youths in the minority areas of southern Glendale, officials said.
The city had expected to get $1.7 million in block grants money, but actually received $2,059,659, so it was able to be a bit more generous than expected.
Other Money to Elderly, Youth
Much of the money that did not go to southern Glendale was awarded to programs that aid the elderly and youth.
Other grants include: Senior Employment Service of the Greater Glendale Council on Aging, $1,000; Community Home Care program for the elderly, $67,663; Home Sharing for the Elderly, $40,542; Dial-A-Ride Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Service, $48,000; Park Paseo senior-citizen housing complex, $50,000; Parenting Workshops of the Glendale Family Service Assn., $3,046; Catholic Youth Organization, $15,200; YWCA day care centers, $32,891; and Verdugo Mental Health Center, $6,000.
The council also voted to give its Public Works Department $24,800 to improve accessibility for the handicapped at Clark Junior High School and Griffith Manor Park.
The city's community development planners had recommended that another $39,200 from the block grants be used to install curb cuts for wheelchairs at some RTD bus stops.
However, the council decided to pay for that work with revenues from Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1980 for transportation projects.
The council decided instead to add the $39,200 to the $62,459 recommended for renovation and installation of fire sprinklers at the Glendale Family YMCA. That would give the YMCA a total of $101,659.
Mayor Milner said that, although all of the projects funded are important, the city does not depend on block grants to finance basic services. So, if Congress votes sharp cuts in the grants program, as recommended by the Reagan Administration, Glendale would "not be in the pickle some other communities may find themselves," he said.