Council Approves Third Avenue Hardship Fund

Council Approves Third Avenue Hardship Fund

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  • August 31, 2022
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In an effort to ease the financial strain Third Avenue business owners are suffering during the extensive Third Avenue construction project, Oakdale City Council members met Monday evening, Aug. 29 for a special meeting to discuss the creation of the Third Avenue Construction Hardship Program.

Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer and city staff have been working closely with the affected business owners as the city navigates the complicated and extensive project that has been hit with unexpected delays created by PG&E.

The project includes replacement of sewer lines, installation of storm lines, installation of new ADA accessible sidewalks, mid-block crosswalk and installation of street pavers instead of asphalt for the street surface. Third Avenue, when finished, will be much-improved in many ways, but in the meantime, the project has proven to be a challenge for everyone involved in the massive undertaking.

“I want to thank the businesses and their efforts to fight through this and do the best that they can to keep going,” Whitemyer said, proposing a reallocation of $100,000 from the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Funds it received in 2021 and 2022 to fund the Third Avenue Construction Hardship Grant Program.

While city plan to pursue reimbursement claims from PG&E, the city felt it prudent to act on behalf of the business owners as an estimated timeline from PG&E could be another four weeks before work could resume.

Councilmember Christopher Smith praised city staff’s diligence, saying, “I just want to say thank you for trying to expediate this process with PG&E … the quicker we can turn this around, the better.”

Originally, the $100,000 was allocated for assisting local non-profits affected by the pandemic but since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the local nonprofit agencies have been able to resume fundraising activities, therefore freeing up funds to reallocate for this new community need.

Whitemyer said of the non-profits’ lessening fundraising crisis, “It appears to me that once again, the community is able to support those efforts, because in my opinion, Oakdale is one of the most generous and charitable communities I’ve ever been a part of.”

Mayor Cher Bairos agreed, saying, “Our nonprofits are up and running so that bucket of money, that $100k to share with those businesses would be ideal.”

There will be no impact to the General Fund and the new program will have no negative impact on nonprofits that have already received their 2021 funding. The allocation only affects the current Fiscal Year.

In the interest of putting much-needed relief in the hands of affected business owners, the application deadline — no later than 5 p.m. on Sept. 9 — will enable the review committee to meet the following week and then at a special City Council meeting, discuss the allocations and the money will be disbursed shortly after City Council approval.

Whitemyer assured Council, the application process will be relatively simple but certain requirements must be met to receive funds. The maximum award per business will be $10,000.

General eligibility for the Third Avenue Construction Hardship Grant Program will include: Must be a business located along Third Avenue between E Street or F Street or within 300 feet of this roadway segment; must provide information as described in the grant application form

Applicants can find the application at City Hall. For more information, call 209-845-3571.

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