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Redevelopment OKs UCP funding

Connie Baker

Developers of the city’s first independent- living complex for the

severely disabled have moved a step closer to breaking ground.

The Redevelopment Agency voted Tuesday to approve $61,544 in


additional funding for United Cerebral Palsy of Los Angeles,

developers of a proposed 18-unit project that would serve those with

very low incomes.

“This is a good project,” Councilman Dave Golonski said. “It’s a


very expensive proposi- tion, but the project is needed, and I am

pleased to support it.”

The city, which paid $560,000 to purchase land for the project at

San Fernando Boulevard and Providencia Avenue, has also contributed

$750,000 toward the $3.5-million price tag.

As a condition of the city’s latest contribution, United Cerebral

Palsy must come up with $90,000 of the remaining $154,544 needed to

begin construction, said Duane Solomon, the city’s housing


development manager.

"[UCP] has also secured or applied for funding from several other

resources and increased its own equity participation from $10,000 to

$250,000,” Solomon said.

According to Ron Cohen, chief executive officer of the

organization, there’s still a gap to be bridged despite the

generosity of the city and other grant resources. Cohen said he

doesn’t want to use money set aside for existing patient care to fund


the balance, but will do so if additional grant money cannot be


“I appreciate the kindness of the community,” he said. “But we’re

still short, quite a bit short. We are running out of time, but by

hook or by crook, I will close escrow in November.”

According to a staff report, there is an unmet housing need in the

community that affects approximately 17,200 Burbank residents who

have a disability. A long roll of finan- cial red tape has

interrupted the development of the much- needed facility for the past

five years, according to the report.

“This is a great use of [Redevelopment Agency] funds, and I am

very happy to see the project move forward,” Council- man Jef Vander

Borght said.

The project is one of the largest of United Cerebral Palsy’s 41

independent-living facilities in Southern California, and will

feature wheelchair-accessible showers, tilted mirrors, and wider

ramps and doorways. The new units will also have remote-controlled

door openers, an emergency-call system and lowered light switches.