Government / Politics

San Benito County awarded three grants totaling $49.4 million

The funds will be used for library expansion, bridge repairs and mental health services in schools.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

At the Sep.13 San Benito County Board of Supervisors meeting, three departments announced they were awarded grants totaling $49.4 million.

Interim Resource Management Agency Director Steve Loupe said the county would receive a $37 million grant from the federal government through Caltrans for the Union Road Bridge Project.

“That’s everything we asked for the project construction, which is extremely good news,” he said at the meeting. “Caltrans is kind of the middle man on these types of big bridge projects.”

The Union Road Bridge Project will replace the current bridge over the San Benito River, east of Cienega Road and South of San Benito Street, and restore riparian vegetation nearby. According to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the new bridge would accommodate two traffic lanes with pedestrian and bicycle lane facilities. The construction of the road will also be “realigned to remove a substandard curve and the intersection of San Benito Street and Union Road would be relocated with a 350-foot extension of San Benito Street to the realigned portion of Union Road.”

The county has not yet indicated when construction will begin. However, according to Construction Journal, construction for the project is expected to start Nov. 22.

San Benito Behavioral Health Department and San Benito Office of Education partnered for a grant through the Mental Health Student Services Act. The $2.5 million grant will provide funding for five years for services at school districts in the county.

In addition, San Benito County Free Library received a Building Forward Library Infrastructure Grant of $9.9 million. The grant given by the California State Library assists in developing public libraries across the state.

Damon Felice, a contractor assisting the Coalition for a New Community Library and Resource Center in its efforts to expand or construct a new library, previously told BenitoLink, “A second story is not practical to build on the current existing building, as it would be easier to build a brand new building.” He said it was more likely the library would stay one story but continue to expand. 

This is the second grant the library has obtained in recent months. At the Aug. 9 supervisors meeting, Librarian Nora Conte announced that the San Benito County Free Library was awarded an $11.8 million grant from the Emergency Connectivity fund.

 

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Juliana Luna

Juliana Luna is Hollister born and raised. She recently graduated from San Benito High School, 2021. Currently attending Gavilan College where she plans to earn her Business Associate’s Degree to transfer to a four-year university. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Pinnacles National Park, and horse riding.