A joint attempt has failed to secure state-grant funds to improve the rutted, vacant playfield areas at Santa Lucia Middle School.
The school has no usable grassy field areas, and the community is short of parks dedicated to athletic play. So the Coast Unified School District and Cambria Community Services District had banded together last year to apply for state park-program grant monies.
Proponents learned April 2 from the state’s Office of Grants and Local Services that, after the Santa Lucia project had survived initial rounds of vetting, it didn’t make the final cut.
According to the state’s Website at http://www.parks . ca.gov/? page_id=1008, through two rounds of funding, “103 new parks will be created and 23 existing parks will be expanded or substantially improved for a total of 126 projects.” The Website noted that 900 applications requested $3 billion” in funding overall, but that only $368 million had been available through the voter-approved park bond. “This clearly shows the extent of unmet community needs throughout California.”
When Jerry Gruber, the services district’s general manager, emailed proponents on April 2, he
thanked all who helped on the grant application, saying, “We should hold on to the vision of having a community park somewhere in Cambria,” at Santa Lucia or elsewhere.
“This is bad news,” replied Chris Adams, the school district’s superintendent. “We will put our heads together and start the process” of finding money somewhere else for the project.
Because of the way the state proposition was written, the school district couldn’t apply directly for the $3.5 million in grants, but the services district could and did. No local matching funds would have been required, and field use would have been shared between students and community members, as is the case on the high school tennis courts, another joint project. —Kathe Tanner