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Grant funding generates civic improvements

City Report
By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Manager
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Asteady stream of grant funding provides a bit of good news in the city’s overall budget picture. Recently acquired funds will yield some significant civic improvements that will benefit residents in the coming months. Two of the most high profile projects are the bicycle and pedestrian bridges that will cross E. Bidwell Street near Blue Ravine Road and Folsom Lake Crossing Road just north of East Natoma Street. These new bridges will provide a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians across two busy roadways. Construction is expected to be completed about this time next year. Grant funding for the E. Bidwell overcrossing totals $1.4 million. This 475-foot-long, 12-foot wide bridge will be the final link of the Humbug Willow Creek Trail that runs from Empire Ranch to Folsom Boulevard. We expect to begin work on this noteworthy overcrossing in the spring. Construction of the Folsom Lake Crossing Road bike bridge is possible due to a $1.1 million state and federal grant package. Work on the 175-foot-long structure leading to our new vehicular bridge is expected to begin next summer. Grants will also fund other bridge and roadway related projects, including approximately $1.5 million for the rehabilitation of the historic Orangevale Avenue Bridge, $1.3 million for resurfacing Oak Avenue Parkway, $1.1 million for resurfacing E. Natoma Street and $1.1 million for improvements to Blue Ravine Road and Folsom Boulevard. A project that is less visible, but still very important to the entire region, is the upgrade of our Emergency Operations Center (EOC). We greatly appreciate U.S. Congressman Dan Lungren’s assistance in obtaining $500,000 in federal funds for the first phase of the upgrade. These funds will cover the enhancement of data, video and audio capabilities to bolster our emergency preparedness and management of critical incidents, and to prepare our EOC to serve as the dedicated backup to the county’s EOC if needed. These are just a few of many examples that demonstrate our success at securing federal and state funding to augment our budget. I want to emphasize that we do not view grants as “free” money. When we apply for grants, we always take a very thoughtful look at our capacity to successfully implement all requirements. We know from experience that grants require staff resources to monitor and we are careful not to overextend ourselves. Our goal is to use all the funds we receive for the greatest possible public benefit. We recognize that state and federal grants represent taxpayer dollars and we strive to manage those dollars with as much diligence as our other financial resources. We look forward to implementing these good news projects and sharing our progress along the way. Please watch the City Newsletter, the City’s website, and this newspaper for updates about these and other key programs and services. I welcome your comments at kmiller@folsom.ca.us. Kerry Miller is the city manager of Folsom. He can be reached at kmiller@folsom.ca.us.