SANTA ANA, Calif. (CNS) — A $1.2 million grant to downtown Santa Ana businesses struggling during the Orange County Streetcar project was approved Tuesday by the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
The money will come out of COVID-19 relief funds allocated to the Second District. Supervisor Katrina Foley led the effort.
Multiple business owners and managers implored the board members to approve the grants as they described how customer traffic has plummeted as Fourth Street has been ripped up and barriers in the area make it difficult to access the shops.
Logan Crow of the Frida Cinema told the supervisors, "I've never see anything like this, a community so demoralized, frustrated, exhausted with pain and anger and a feeling of helplessness."
Crow said the downtown businesses are a "ghost town," and added he lost count of "how many customers who called us to tell us they turned around and went home because they couldn't figure out the directions to get to the businesses. We just feel like nobody cares. I ask you to prove them wrong, that the county does care."
Foley said the streetcar project has been "truly devastating" to the Fourth Street businesses. Foley said she moved to dip into the county funds because the Orange County Transportation Authority "won't act."
The county funds would match what was allocated by Santa Ana, Foley said.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner pointed out, "It's not our project. We are not doing anything to Santa Ana. You have to look to OCTA. It should be OCTA's job to fix the damage they're doing to the community, but clearly OCTA will not stop the damage by canceling the project — something I've recommended it do and voted for every single time."
The supervisors also serve on the OCTA board.