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City has to choose among 18 groups seeking funds

SOLANA BEACH — With 18 requests totaling $73,500 — and only $25,000 available — City Council has its work cut out as members must decide which groups will receive funding from the city’s Community Grant Program.
Representatives from all but one group attended the Nov. 18 meeting. Each had three minutes to explain why his or her group applied for the grant and what the money would be used for.
Solana Beach Little League and Soccer Club asked for a combined total of $9,500 for field improvements at various elementary schools. Both organizations received funding last year. Kids Korps USA, also a 2009 beneficiary, and the Boys & Girls Clubs are seeking money to fund programs for low-income youth in Eden Gardens.
Council members said they would consider funding the Assistance League of Rancho San Dieguito, which buys school clothes for low-income families, and the Community Resource Center, which will use the money for the annual holiday baskets program, if those two groups shopped in Solana Beach. Both said they would.
Some council members seemed intrigued by a $5,000 request from North Coast Repertory Theatre to produce a theater school play about the history of Solana Beach. Councilman Joe Kellejian, remembering the impact school gardens had on his childhood, appeared supportive of a funding request to build one at Skyline Elementary.
Groups also sought grants for books, senior citizen yoga classes, exercise equipment for youngsters and programs for developmentally challenged young adults.
By the end of her presentation, Sally Montrucchio said she would forgo the $5,000 request from Tender Loving Canines Assistance Dogs if the city would help her find space, about the size of City Hall Chambers, for classes to teach trainers how to train assistance dogs for children with autism.
“We have some hard decisions to make,” Mayor Mike Nichols said. “They’re all worthy. We wish we could give them all money.”
Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, each contribute $5,000 to the Community Grant Program, which was established in 2004. Applicants must be nonprofit, community-based, nongovernmental groups that serve Solana Beach and its residents.
No more than $5,000 is awarded to any one program.
Priority is given to new projects or programs or those that provide a “new or unique twist on an existing program,” the staff report states.
Council will announce the recipients Dec. 9 at its final meeting at the year.

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