FILE — At a cost of $1 million, King City’s streetscape project is designed to make downtown more pedestrian-oriented and bike-friendly. (Sean Roney)

KING CITY — King City’s million-dollar downtown streetscape plan is among the eight community projects in California’s 20th District that were included in the federal government’s FY 2022 Appropriations package.

Rep. Jimmy Panetta announced March 11 that the federal funds, totaling $5.9 million, will support infrastructure, water projects, workforce development, healthcare and housing projects throughout the district in King City, Salinas, Santa Cruz, Pacific Grove, Watsonville and San Juan Bautista.

The legislation was passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and was expected to be sent to President Joe Biden for signature prior to the funding deadline on March 15.

“The federal government is playing its part when it comes to providing funding for much-needed infrastructure projects on the Central Coast,” Panetta said in a news release. “I thank the local municipalities and stakeholders for our work together to determine the projects, including systems for sustainable and safe drinking water, roadways, recreation trails and workforce development, and I appreciate the bipartisan work in Congress to secure this federal funding. The funding for the projects will help bolster our water resources, revitalize our infrastructure, create jobs and strengthen our local economies and communities.”

At a cost of $1 million, King City’s streetscape project is designed to make downtown more pedestrian-oriented and bike-friendly. The project will “help improve circulation and access for the community, increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, encourage healthier lifestyles, revitalize the downtown area, support businesses and job growth, and provide an important local economic stimulus,” according to the release.

“This is great news, King City is very excited to hear that our Community Project grant application for our Downtown Streetscape Project was awarded,” said King City Mayor Mike LeBarre. “Congressman Panetta has always been engaged and supportive of our efforts to meet high-priority needs in our community, and we greatly appreciate all his work advocating for this grant and ensuring underserved rural communities receive much-needed federal support.”

LeBarre added, “The streetscape project will help transform and revitalize our downtown area, create a more active and pedestrian-oriented downtown, support much-needed business and job growth, beautify our community, and create an overall higher quality of life for our residents. We thank Congressman Panetta and the Community Project grant program for making this possible.”

In Salinas, the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) received $250,000 for a Farmworker Workforce Center to assist hard-working field laborers develop new skills and fill positions in the Salinas Valley’s agriculture industry. 

The Center will complement ALBA’s existing farm incubator by establishing targeted training to shore up skills gaps in the fast-growing organic agriculture sector. It will also expand upon an existing relationship with nearby Hartnell College to offer on-farm education and experiential learning opportunities to students exploring agricultural opportunities.

Another Salinas project, the El Pajaro Alisal Kitchen Incubator, was awarded $200,000 to acquire commercial equipment and fixtures needed for a kitchen incubator in East Salinas. The funds will help food production entrepreneurs, women and other economically disadvantaged persons in the area receive training and technical assistance.

Food producers will also be able to start-up and expand their businesses in a commercially-equipped, licensed facility.

Other community projects receiving funding are: Santa Cruz’s Dientes and MidPen Housing Project ($1,050,000) and Water Meters Replacement ($1 million); Pacific Grove’s Monterey One Water Pump Station Electrical Relocation ($400,000); Watsonville’s Lee Road Trail Construction ($1 million); and San Juan Bautista’s Water and Wastewater Project ($1 million).

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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