History and Overall Responsibilities of Division
The Special Projects Division was formed back in 1976 upon completion of the Town Center East downtown redevelopment project when the Redevelopment Agency staff was disbanded. At that time, the primary purpose of the division was to complete the downtown redevelopment effort, which included not only Town Center East but the Westside Revitalization Project and Town Center West. The downtown effort included 15 ½ blocks of acquisition, relocation, demolition and construction.
In 1977, the division expanded its role to include management and implementation of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funded projects including affordable housing projects. Many of the programs developed by the division continue to be implemented. They are the Public Services (Human Services) program, Capital Development program, the Neighborhood Conservation program, the Commercial Façade Rebate/Loan program and the Economic Development program including a revolving loan fund option.
In 1995, the City formed a consortium with the County of Santa Barbara and the cities of Lompoc, Guadalupe and Carpinteria in order to qualify for HOME funds from the Federal government. The division manages the City's share of this funding to provide additional affordable rental housing and homebuyer assistance.
The division functioned as part of the Community Development Department until 1996 and was known as the Redevelopment Agency/Special Projects Division. In 1996, the division was moved to City Hall to become part of the City Manager's team, and the name was changed to the Special Projects Division. In 1998, the division was merged with Finance and Information Systems and became part of the newly formed Administrative Services Department. The division's purpose was expanded to include overall grant coordination and for the City.