Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Covina, CA - Mayor Christian P. Christiansen

Neighborhood Preservation Program

The Neighborhood Preservation Program is a multi-jurisdictional, public and private effort to resolve the core problems and resulting physical blight that have led to the decline in the Prospero Park neighborhood of Covina. The Program involves the use of CDBG funds for physical renovations in the neighborhood, empowering residents through the Covina Valley Unified School District and the Options Child Care Counseling group, using the City's Park and Recreation employees to provide after-school care for children, enhancing code enforcement by the Building Division, increasing police patrols through the Police Department's Neighborhood Policing Program, providing health education and clothing programs through local service clubs, and providing other improvements through utility companies.

CDBG funds have been invested in Prospero Park in a variety of areas:

  • •$250,000 to improve infrastructure - installation of street lights, curbs, gutters and sidewalks;
  • •$65,000 through a rebate program for building owners to eliminate substandard housing conditions and improve living conditions; this leveraged over $130,000 in private improvements and $1.2 million in other private building improvements;
  • •partial funding for a Healthy Start program to provide after-school care for low- and moderate-income elementary school students in the area;
  • •$20,000 to improve the Covina Elementary Multiple Use Playfield; and
  • •in past years, $5,000 to support Operation Santa Clothes, a project of the Sunrise Rotary Club which purchases new clothing for low- and moderate-income children in the area.

Future plans include investing $50,000 in the development of a neighborhood pocket park on land leased to the City at low cost by the Metropolitan Water District.

The City budgets $131,000 for Code Enforcement Officers in the Neighborhood Preservation Program, and allocates time to be devoted to the Program by building inspectors, police personnel, fire personnel, parks and recreation staff, and water department staff. A City program has provided more than 200 water-saving low-flush toilets to property owners in the area; Code Enforcement Officers and Building Safety Officers, in addition to identifying and correcting violations, have held several neighborhood "clean-ups;" and the Planning Division was instrumental in creating an ordinance requiring enclosures for trash receptacles.

The Covina Police Department, which has focused on Prospero Park, reports that the number of vehicle thefts has dropped and that improved lighting has improved officers' ability to spot suspicious activity. The Police Department also has developed a Crime Free Rental Housing Program which trains and assists apartment owners and managers in meeting specific criteria for a crime-free environment.

Officials in Covina are pleased with the dramatic improvement in the appearance of the neighborhood following the correction of code violations and substandard building conditions, with the decline in criminal activity, and with the drop in turnover - from 170 percent to 60 percent - at the local elementary school.

Contact: Nuala Gasser, Management Analyst, Housing Department, (626) 858-7266

Home Search

The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright ©1999, U.S. Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.