The Santa Barbara City Council approved funding for the first stage of the Santa Barbara Public Library Plaza renovation project during yesterday’s meeting.
The council accepted three recommendations from the city’s redevelopment agency report including allocating $68,478 for the project, approving a $159,280 contract with Campbell and Campbell Architects for concept and preliminary design ideas and consenting to $15,928 in variable costs. In addition to the funding, the council permitted a $ two million loan agreement between the city and redevelopment agency to finance the project.
According to Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, the project will help revitalize the area around the library.
“We want it to be a lovely open place and this plaza is a central part of it,” Schneider said. “I think this is the appropriate step in moving towards that way.”
Despite attendees’ concerns over the impact the loan will have on the city’s budget, Santa Barbara City council member Randy Rowse said the project will fuel the local economy.
“These are dollars we are going to spend in town, this is almost like a mini-stimulus,” Rowse said. “It is not that I do not trust Governor Jerry Brown, but I do not think sending our money back to Sacramento is the best way to use those dollars.”
Santa Barbara City council member Grant House said the project qualifies for the redevelopment agency’s financial resources.
“We really have a chance to make this beautiful … and I enthusiastically support this project,” House said. “These are the types of projects the redevelopment agency funds are meant for.”