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Local News

Housing Authority Begins Work on Restoration Project

The first contract awarded using federal stimulus funds will benefit low-income seniors and the environment

The Housing Authority of the city of Santa Barbara recently approved a project for siding replacement and painting of the exterior of its Vista La Cumbre property, which provides 36 housing units for low-income seniors. It’s the first major contract awarded by the Housing Authority under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s Public Housing Capital Fund Program.

The program granted the city more than over $1.1 million in funding for projects to improve life for low-income residents, including financing stalled projects, transforming public housing, housing for the elderly or disabled and energy-efficiency projects. The siding replacement will decrease costs and increase energy efficiency for the site, while making the exterior more pleasing.

Vista La Cumbre, at 175 S. La Cumbre Lane, is a 36-unit senior living facility built in 1983. The original exterior was covered with cedar shake siding, which because of its age was allowing moisture buildup and decreasing the building’s ability to maintain temperatures. The contract was awarded to Tomar Construction Inc. through a sealed bid process.

“The Recovery and Reinvestment Act gives us the opportunity to use these federal funds in a way that benefits our residents, the environment and the local economy,” Rob Pearson, executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority. “These funds are putting people back to work and preserving the safety and beauty of our affordable housing assets for our residents to live.”

Housing Authority staff researched options and decided on cementaceous siding, a material that resembles the wood siding it is replacing, but is made of concrete. Aside from requiring no paint, the material is also fire-resistant and provides moisture protection. It will reduce maintenance costs and increase the safety and longevity of the building.

The project is budgeted at $244,700, which leaves $855,300 of the total $1,113,178 funds for future projects. The Housing Authority expects to have the entire amount awarded and improvement jobs completed by April 2010, within 12 months of the funds award date.

— Mickey Nelson is a publicist.

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