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Committee OKs Plan To Shift $1.1M In Unused Grants Into Sidewalk Repair

Broken sidewalk near Texas Street and Meade Avenue in North Park, Sept. 17, 2014.
Dwane Brown
Broken sidewalk near Texas Street and Meade Avenue in North Park, Sept. 17, 2014.

A plan to redirect $1.1 million in unused federal grants for sidewalk and pedestrian safety projects in San Diego received a go-ahead Wednesday from the City Council's Infrastructure Committee.

Under the plan, eight sidewalks in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods will be fixed up, and four signs that tell drivers how fast they're going will be installed. The City Council as a whole has to sign off before work can begin.

RELATED: Readers tell us what sidewalks they think should be fixed

The city intends to use more Community Development Block Grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on infrastructure projects. Most CDBG money is allocated to local nonprofit agencies to pay for social service programs.

"I think everybody knows that this council and the mayor have all committed to finding resources for infrastructure improvements, and that our neighborhoods really need to be walkable to be livable," committee Chairman Mark Kersey said.

The projects are slated to take place near schools, libraries, recreation centers and transit stations — areas with a lot of pedestrians.

"I really think we're witnessing a sea-change in terms of the political will to address our massive infrastructure backlog, which could be upwards of $2 billion at this point," Kersey said. "We obviously need to do more, and will be doing more, and I'm very encouraged by our progress so far."

The leftover CDBG funds came from allocations in recent years that went unused for various reasons. City officials are preparing a second round of CDBG funding for similar projects, which could be worth around $4 million.