Gilroy will receive $4.5 million for two recreational projects after President Joe Biden signed a $1.7 trillion federal government spending package Dec. 29.
A total of $3 million will go toward renovations at San Ysidro Park, while $1.5 million will help fund a one-mile trail to Christopher High School.
The San Ysidro Park project in East Gilroy will receive the most money out of the 15 projects Congressmember Zoe Lofgren requested for funding. The projects, spread across the state’s 19th District, will receive $13,602,000 total from the federal government.
“From funding affordable housing to expanding access to healthcare to protecting our environment, this funding will make a difference in the South Bay,” Lofgren said. “I thank the local governments, schools and nonprofits that submitted strong project proposals that will allow them to better support the individuals and families they serve. These organizations and so many others play an important role in our communities, and I will continue to strongly support their vital work.”
Known as the “Healthy Living Enhancement Project,” the city has been seeking grant funding for the work since it applied for a Proposition 68 grant in 2019 from the state, which it didn’t receive, according to Councilmember Zach Hilton.
The city seeks to upgrade the park’s toddler area and playground with ADA equipment, while adding outdoor exercise equipment, as outlined in the grant application. Proposed work also includes the construction of a large all-weather canopy over the picnic area, new lighting throughout the park, and bilingual welcome kiosks, among other things.
For years, San Ysidro Park has had a reputation for gang and drug activity, but thanks to efforts from a group of neighbors, known as San Ysidro Nueva Vida, along with the South County Youth Task Force and others, the park’s culture has shifted in a positive direction, residents have noted.
The city received input from residents on the renovation project during a series of neighborhood meetings in 2019.
Long in the works, the multi-use trail for bicyclists and pedestrians would extend along Lions Creek from Kern Avenue to Christopher High School at the intersection of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Day Road.
According to the city’s 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Program, the trail is estimated to cost a little more than $3 million, which will also include ADA-compliant curb ramps and a concrete retaining wall.
“I am proud to have worked with Rep. Zoe Lofgren on identifying two projects for her Community Project Funding Requests FY23 and excited to announce that the City of Gilroy will be receiving $4,500,000 as a part of the Omnibus Federal Spending Bill,” Hilton said. “These two projects will benefit opposite ends of our community, and build off the recent successes of community-based programs that are a benefit to our residents.”
Hilton added that the timing of the funds “couldn’t be better,” as the city will soon be making budget decisions.
He also said he reached out to Senator John Laird’s and Assemblymember Robert Rivas’ offices for state funding for these projects, but the city has not yet received word on the request.