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Plans For 7 th Avenue & Brommer Street
When the State Legislature eliminated Redevelopment Agencies, the County was forced to sell two properties that had been assembled years earlier but did not have definite plans. One on Capitola Road at 17th Avenue, now has plans submitted to the County for a mixed use project with affordable housing and new medical and dental clinics. The other property is larger, located on the corner of 7 th Avenue and Brommer Street. Currently most of the space is undeveloped, with only two single-family homes on the 9-acres owned by the County. After issuing a Request for Proposals for this site, the County entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Barry Swenson Builders.  Barry Swenson Builders is hosting two community meetings to get feedback on their proposal,which includes housing, a small hotel, over 5,000 square feet of retail space, a youth hostel and a one acre park. I encourage you to attend one of the two meetings listed below to find out more and share your thoughts about this proposed development.

                                                Live Oak Elementary School
                                      1916 Capitola Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

                                     Wednesday, March 13th - 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
                                     
Saturday, March 16th - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
New Park Creation Moving Forward
With the passage of Measure G, the County is moving forward on development of new parks space in the 1st District. The Board approved a contract with Granite Construction for the creation of Chanticleer Park and for Leo's Haven, the first all-inclusive park in Santa Cruz County. Construction should begin this spring with completion by the end of the year. The Board also approved working with the designer for the second phase of the Heart of Soquel Park.  This second phase will lengthen the walking path and include a new entrance from Porter Street. This new park addition would not have been possible without support from the community. Thanks for helping us add to our great County Park system.  
 
Addressing Homelessness Issues
Whether your daily routine brings you to the intersection of River Street & HWY 1 to see the current homeless encampment, or you've experienced our homeless community members in other contexts the struggle to find supportive shelter solutions and services for those most vulnerable in our community has not been easy, and there is more work to be done.  The County has been working diligently to address the affordable housing crisis in our county. With new patterns of development, and new incentives for building affordable housing but it will take some time for all of these efforts to bear fruit. As we look to address the homelessness crisis collaboration among jurisdictions is happening now. In the near term, the County has been working with the cities of Santa Cruz and Watsonville to expand shelter options and build strategies that will help us reduce homelessness and provide critical services to those in need.  In February, the Board approved funding to open a new temporary shelter at the Salvation Army in Santa Cruz. This facility is has been used as a Winter Shelter in the past. Combined with the Winter Shelter opened in Live Oak. These two spaces will now be open until June 30.
 
In addition, working with the City of Santa Cruz, the County will be funding a temporary homeless campground on River Street. This site was opened by the City (and financially supported by the County) for six months last year and had none of the problems associated with other encampments locations around our community. These efforts are in support of closing down the Ross/Gateway Plaza unsanctioned encampment. The County and the Board support the closure of the encampment,  confident that we can provide enough shelter space for all those who wanted shelter services. The City of Santa Cruz is also looking to identify additional shelter beds and locations and the County will work together on this effort in hopes of formally closing the Ross/Gateway Plaza encampment as soon as possible. 

The County has hired Focus Strategies to help with developing a more effective system of collaboration within County departments and other jurisdictions to address issues of homelessness. The goal will be to support a strategic, data-informed, systems assessment and planning effort. Working with County departments, jurisdictional partners and community-based organizations, the effort will lead to a new detailed implementation plan that will have support of all parts of the county and result in performance measures so we can assess what is really working. As the County looks to help distribute the first allocation from the State of $10 million to address the growing problem of homelessness, these new tools will be helpful. To read more about our efforts click  here
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