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Costa Mesa receives $3.5 million in grants

County and federal funds will help restore habitats, build a water system and other projects.

October 05, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com

COSTA MESA — The city has received $3.5 million in county and federal grants to go toward four projects, including the completion of Fairview Park's Wetlands and Riparian Habitat Project.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) awarded Costa Mesa $2 million in grants from Measure M2, money generated from a half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, said Peter Naghavi, Costa Mesa public services director.

"There is a competition for the grant," Naghavi said. "We competed with other cities, and we got $2 million."

Measure M2 funds are divided into three categories: 43% go toward freeway improvements; 32% for street and road improvements; and 25% for transit programs. About 5% of the freeway improvement funds go toward reducing, or "mitigating," the environmental impacts of the freeway improvements.

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OCTA allocated $5.5 million for restoration programs and $22 million for open space and habitat protection acquisitions, said OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik.

The OCTA grants will be used to complete the second phase of the Fairview Park Wetlands and Riparian Habitat Project, which consists of planting 23 acres of riparian habitat, coastal sage scrub, native grasslands, an oak woodland and wetland pond plantings, Naghavi said.

"We got about 40% of the entire available grants in that category for mitigation," Naghavi said. "The public works department of the city does well in competing and securing local, regional, state and federal grants. Over the past 20 years, we got approximately $90 million for public works projects, mostly transportation."

The money will also go toward building a water system that will deliver water from an existing pump to the lower area of the park, Naghavi said.

The city was also awarded another $1.5 million from the Federal Highway Administration, which will go toward

a walking and bike trail in Fairview Park, streetscape improvement on East 17th Street and beautification projects on Harbor Boulevard, Naghavi said.

The bike trail will connect Placentia Avenue and the Santa Ana River Trail, he said.

The East 17th Street landscape improvements will include landscaping, installing a median with trees, decorative crosswalks and new lighting from East Santa Ana to Irvine avenues.

The money will also help with intersection improvements on 17th, Naghavi said.

A solar-powered city monument sign will be installed on Harbor at the Costa Mesa entry from Santa Ana. The money will also fund planting palm trees from the San Diego (405) Freeway to Adams Avenue, Naghavi said.

The federal grants require matching funds of about 12% to 35%

"We will identify other grants that will pay for the matching instead of using city funds," Naghavi said.

Construction at Fairview Park is scheduled to being in April.

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