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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 10:18 pm | Fair 51º


City Council Supports Funding Request for Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet

The partnership organization plans to open an incubator office in Old Town to help startup and growing businesses

The Goleta City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pursue funding the Goleta Entrepreneurial Magnet along with its partner agencies, UC Santa Barbara and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

GEM Executive Director Doug Lynch said the organization plans to open an incubator office in Old Town and provide training, mentors and venture capital funding to help startup and growing businesses in the science and technology sectors.

It's also planning an eight-week “accelerator” course to prepare people for venture capital presentations.

The Goleta City Council asked city staff to come back with an agreement outlining every partner agency’s responsibilities, group goals and funding plans to give $50,000 per year for three years.

UCSB has committed to giving matching funds to Goleta’s commitment, up to $50,000 per year for three years, and the Chamber of Commerce is exploring how much it will fund the partnership.

GEM will start using the nonprofit Santa Barbara Foundation as a fiscal agent.

Lynch, who was hired earlier this year, hasn’t taken a salary yet as he helps get the collaboration going, according to city economic development coordinator Jaime Valdez.

Council members were excited about the program getting off the ground, and Councilman Jim Farr said the city’s participation can help “guarantee Goleta’s future as a high-tech powerhouse in the state of California.”

The city has already given $10,000 for the 2013-14 year, and GEM is asking for $40,000 more from the city for the first year.

During the meeting’s public comment, Goleta residents asked the City Council why lights have not been put in on the Cathedral Oaks Road corridor near Santa Marguerita Drive even though the project has funding.

At the start of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Roger Aceves read a statement saying the city’s hearts go out to everyone affected by the fatal collision.

A 59-year-old woman was hit and killed while crossing Cathedral Oaks and pushing a stroller on the evening of Nov. 11. Shuguang Lui, of Beijing, China, was related to the 20-month-old boy in the stroller, who was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Neighbors said the boy was Lui’s great-nephew and was “miraculously” at home recovering from the collision.

“We will never know if the improved intersection would have saved Mrs. Lui’s life,” Cathy Oliverio said.

She and other neighbors wore yellow to the meeting, which is used as a mourning color for Chinese culture. They called Cathedral Oaks a freeway in a residential area and a “tragedy waiting to happen.”

“Our neighborhood is traumatized by this experience,” Annie Perry said.

Maria Stave and her son Dylan said it was extremely dangerous to cross Cathedral Oaks, and Stave said she didn’t let her children cross on foot or bicycles until about a year ago.

The intersection lighting project wasn’t on Tuesday’s agenda, but attorney Tim Giles said the design approval will be coming to the council at a December meeting.

The council delayed a decision on a civic center feasibility study. The contract language is changing slightly and will come back for a vote soon, but the city intends to hire a design firm to look into making the Community Center property into a civic center.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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