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Riordan’s Budget Proposal Includes Van Nuys Grant

Mayor Richard Riordan has proposed setting aside $1 million in his 1998-99 budget for improvements at Van Nuys Civic Center.

The money would add the Civic Center and the area around it to the mayor’s list of “targeted neighborhoods"--areas singled out for special funding to combat blight.

Canoga Park, Pacoima and North Hollywood were named targeted neighborhoods last year, and would continue to be funded next year under the mayor’s proposal.

The Van Nuys grant, which consists of federal block grant money, would be allocated to an advisory board of residents and business owners. The board would decide which of a variety of neighborhood improvement projects to fund.

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Previous projects financed as part of the targeted neighborhoods initiative have included new street lighting, housing and social programs, said the mayor’s spokeswoman, Noelia Rodriguez.

Adriana Noonan, vice president of the Van Nuys Homeowners’ Assn., said the proposal “sounds terrific,” but added that she remains doubtful that much can be done to reverse a trend that has rendered the neighborhood to a commercial strip with little foot traffic.

Residents have reason to be skeptical, since previous proposals to improve the Civic Center have failed to re-create the “small-town feel” it once had, she said.

The City Council will consider the mayor’s proposal in the coming weeks.


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