Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/12/2011 04:08:09 PM PST

HIGHLAND – A grant meant to help improve neighborhoods has been amended so residents whose homes were damaged by flooding and mudslides in December can receive $25,000 to help repair their homes.

The City Council voted Tuesday unanimously to modify the Neighborhood Pride program to help residents of The East Highland Village, whose homes were damaged by the flood. The program has a 2010/2011 fiscal year budget of $1 million in Redevelopment Agency funds.

Mayor Pro Tem Penny Lilburn, who serves on the council’s Neighborhood Revitalization Subcommittee, said the grant was originally meant to enhance neighborhoods.

“We thought it would kind of the perfect spot to put that money into (the East Highland Village),” Lilburn said. “It’s perfect timing.”

Tuesday’s vote will allow 10 homeowners in the area to receive $25,000 grants to help make repairs.

Councilman Sam Racadio said the council designated a section of the East Highland Village area as top priority. The high priority area – dubbed Section 1 – is bordered by Church Street to the west, Old Greenspot Road to the north, and Merris Street to the south. Section 1’s eastern border is a jagged line bisecting the block between Tyler and Cortez streets.

“Section 1 is the area with the most damage and it’s the highest priority,” Racadio said.

The council designated a Section 2, which lies immediately to the east of Section 1. Grant money will be made available to the homes in Section 2 after Section 1 has been addressed, according to a city staff report.

The Neighborhood Pride grant program is normally restricted to homeowners and not renters, he said. But the council vote allows both renters and homeowners in Section 1 to apply for aid.

The council also voted to continue the emergency proclamation Tuesday’s vote extends the Dec. 22 proclamation an added 30 days. The council has the option to continue it again next month if necessary.

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