The spring issue of “Currents,” the city of Half Moon Bay's quarterly newsletter issued last month, reported that the city “will soon launch the Opportunity Center of the Coastside” that will provide job and workforce training, small business assistance and house a business incubator. The newsletter described next steps as securing a location and entering into a lease agreement.
The Opportunity Center is one of several Coastside projects for which funding has been in place since last year that have not yet opened or broken ground.
City Manager Matthew Chidester said on Friday the city had not been able to reach an agreement with a potential landlord for the Opportunity Center. Chidester said he hopes the parties can come to terms soon and that the center would open by July 1.
A July opening would come almost nine months after San Mateo County supervisors awarded the city $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act passed by Congress and signed into law in March 2021 to help individuals and communities overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution enacted by the supervisors stipulated that the funding should support the Opportunity Center for two years ending in 2024, meaning there will be only 18 months remaining if the center opens in July. That would provide more than $130,000 for each month of operation. Chidester said the city would try to extend the duration of the funding by frontloading costs, such as future rent.
In December the supervisors awarded East Palo Alto-based nonprofit WeHOPE almost $1 million to open and operate a safe parking area for people living in their vehicles in or near Half Moon Bay. The city did not submit the grant but advised WeHOPE and plans to assist the organization with implementation.
WeHOPE operates a “Dignity on Wheels” program that provides mobile shower and laundry facilities to homeless people throughout California. The group complements these hygiene services with case management support to address challenges faced by individuals such as losing a job, illness and food insecurity.
Such resources could help individuals living in cars and RVs transition to stable living situations. However, according to Chidester, a location for the facility has not yet been secured and no opening date has been announced. Alicia Garcia, chief operating officer of WeHOPE, confirmed that the project has not moved forward because the city has not yet been able to find a location.
Meanwhile, at the end of 2022, Half Moon Bay received an allocation of $980,000 in Measure W funding from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority for the “Pacific Coast Bikeway North.” The substantial sum was the third award for the project that the city has received from funds generated by the half-cent sales tax voters approved to improve transit and reduce traffic congestion. In 2012-13 SMCTA provided $250,000 for the “Highway 1 Trail
Extension - Ruisseau Francais to Roosevelt” and in 2017 the agency disbursed $315,000 for the “Half Moon Bay Pacific Coast Bikeway Connectivity Project: North.”
Despite the changing terminology, all of the funding is intended to complete path segments to create a continuous bikeway along the east side of Highway 1 connecting the new county path in El Granada to the Naomi Patridge Trail and add a segment linking it to the intersection of the highway and Main Street.
According to Maz Bozorginia, Public Works director and city engineer for Half Moon Bay, the design phase for the trail segments is at least 95 percent complete, and the city should break ground on construction by the end of the current year assuming all the necessary permits are approved. Meanwhile, more than $1.5 million awaits spending on the project.
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