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Walking the pathways at Las Animas Veterans Memorial Park will be smooth this summer as upgrades are expected to begin next month.
The Gilroy City Council voted last week to dedicate grant funds to upgrade part of Las Animas Veterans Memorial Park off Wren Avenue. Total project cost is $402,059, with most of the funds coming from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) allocations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the amount of $396,497.
On Jan. 22, council members selected Precision Grade Inc., the lowest out of five in an open bidding process that began last December, to handle construction on a $254,166 contract.
Construction management will be handled by a separate company called TRC on a $44,385 contract.
The park needs upgraded pathways in order to be compliant with the Americans for Disabilities Act. Additional improvements like irrigation and re-sodding grass areas are also needed.
The upgrade project will remove the old asphalt and gravel pathways that wind through the park and construct new ADA-accessible concrete pathways and access ramps at various locations.
Work will also encompass working on the existing irrigation system to avoid new pathways, re-sodding existing grass areas disturbed by construction, and other related site work. Design was completed in-house by engineering staff.
Las Animas Park is located in what is called the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area, a low-income area specially designated by federal housing and urban development. Federal community development  funding can be utilized for various eligible activities and projects.
“Gilroy receives an annual entitlement grant from HUD,” Public Works Director Girum Awoke said via email. “These funds are to be used locally to benefit primarily low and moderate income individuals or neighborhoods, including the NSRA mainly along Monterey Street corridor and the surrounding areas.”
Other parks included in the NSRA designation and eligible for grant-funded improvements include San Ysidro, Forest Street Park, Wheeler Tot Lot, and Butcher Park.
“Depending on the availability of future funding, the city will make sure these parks receive their share of CDBG funds to meet the city’s Parks and Trails Master Plan,” Awoke said.

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