Santa Paula Times

City Council tentatively approves Preserve America grant application

February 26, 2010
Santa Paula City Council

With its official designation as a Preserve America city, Santa Paula is in line to apply for a grant tentatively approved by the City Council, who questioned the matching portion at times of tight budgeting.

Assistant to the City Manager Elisabeth Amador told the council at the February 16 meeting that one of the benefits of the “very distinguished” federal designation is the eligibility to apply for grant funding that would be used to support preservation efforts. The objective of the grant funds is to provide projects that provide a regional identification of the city and promote local pride.

The city is applying for a grant Amador said would center on a two-year marketing effort that would include signage at key sites to “expand on those attractions” such as The Mill - the future home of the Museum of Ventura County Farm Museum - and other such community treasures that helped the city secure the designation and are attractive to tourists. Kiosks with maps, the design and printing of brochures focusing on the downtown and historical registered sites - “We have about 25 in the community,” noted Amador - and advertising in tourism orientated magazines would also be launched.

In addition, the city would develop a website and web-based guides “promoting Santa Paula’s cultural heritage, as well as give a good sense of what is available to the community,” and visitor special events. The grant would also provide the funding for a part-time staff person who would work weekends at the Santa Paula California Oil Museum on marketing and being accessible to tourists. 

The grant requires a 50 percent match from the city that Amador said would be about $35,000 annually. Letters of support have already been received from area organizations, and Amador said donations would also be sought.

Vice Mayor Fred Robinson asked about the grant timeline: “Is it next fiscal year?” The application said Amador is due now. “My only concern,” Robinson noted, “is budgetary considerations.” 

Councilman Ralph Fernandez asked if in-kind services would be eligible for grant matching purposes, but Amador said the “actual cash” is needed for printing, designing and other costs that will be “close to the that $70,000.” The application, she added, does include about $17,000 for in-kind services.

Fernandez asked if there is any estimate of how much others might donate, and Community Services Director Brian Yanez said meetings have been held with the Santa Paula Art Museum, Chamber of Commerce and Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, among a few others. “They’re a little leery,” about monetary donations, but supportive of the overall application and its potential benefits.

Once the grant is approved, Yanez said, “that will be the time to get monetary donations, once they realize” what benefits they will have.