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Imperial Beach redevelopment: Classic Southern California redefined

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The city of Imperial Beach, also known as "Classic Southern California," is moving swiftly toward a new chapter. The $22 million bond fund sale in November 2003, secured the 4.5 square-mile city of 27,000 residents a brighter future. A city primed for redevelopment, the redevelopment agency (RDA) has recently made financial appropriation decisions for economic development, capital improvements and housing.

Economic development projects, such as the Palm Avenue corridor, were given the highest priority with the appropriation of $8 million. Emphasis is focused on the existing shopping center located at Ninth and Palm and other commercial opportunities. Palm Avenue or State route 75 has proven market potential and is a great area for retail and mixed use projects.

Old Palm Avenue will receive $1.5 million for infrastructure and improvements. The remaining economic funding included $250,000 for a fa?ade improvement program and $250,000 for future planning studies.

The Palm Avenue program is slated to improve properties along the Palm Avenue commercial corridor. There are infill opportunities for retail, housing and mixed use projects.

Capital improvement projects will focus on infrastructure improvements. The RDA approved $4.5 million for street overlay, sidewalk construction, curb and gutter construction, handicap access ramp construction, cross gutter and storm drain construction. Park and recreation facility improvements received a final appropriation of $1 million. The remaining $500,000 is earmarked to create an Alley Assessment District to pave all the city's unpaved alleys. Construction contracts will be sent out to bid early 2005.

For an affordable housing program, the RDA felt that the best use of bond funds would be to focus on the rehabilitation of existing multi-family housing and exploring the possibility of providing affordable, limited equity co-op housing to allow for ownership by low and moderate income residents.

For more information, contact Patricia Beard, redevelopment coordinator at (619) 424-2226 or visit the city of Imperial Beach Web site, www.cityofib.org.

Submitted by Julie Walke for the city of Imperial Beach

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