USO Council of San Diego, Forest Fire Lookout Association given Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds


The March 15 actions of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors included the distribution of Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funding for the USO Council of San Diego and the San Diego-Riverside chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.

Camp Pendleton will be hosting this year’s Marine Corps Trials, and the $20,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant to the USO Council of San Diego will be used for rental equipment. The $13,360 for the Forest Fire Lookout Association will help cover the costs of restoration and upgrades to two lookout stations on Palomar Mountain. The allocations passed on a 4-0 vote March 15. Supervisor Ron Roberts is one of the county’s San Diego Association of Governments board members and is also the county’s Metropolitan Transit System representative and he is currently the SANDAG chair and the MTS vice-chair so he spent the week in Washington, DC, for the American Public Transit Association conference.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program is intended to provide grants to non-profit organizations for the furtherance of public purposes at the regional and community levels. In addition to non-profit organizations, county supervisors can also fund schools and fire departments, and supervisors can also use money from their budgets to supplement other county funding for specific county projects such as parks, roads, and libraries. Each county supervisor recommends the allocation of his or her Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds, although those allocations must be approved by a majority of the board. The grants to the USO Council of San Diego and the Forest Fire Lookout Association were from the Fifth District budget of Supervisor Bill Horn.

The USO Council of San Diego offers programs including food and family support and also provides services for the physical and emotional rehabilitation of wounded servicemen. The USO Council of San Diego expects between 350 and 400 wounded and ill active-duty and medically retired combat veterans to be participating in eight Paralympic events at the Marine Corps Trials. The allowable rental equipment to be funded by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant includes tables, chairs, silverware, a generator, and a heater.

“As a Marine and combat veteran I have personal knowledge of the value of rehabilitative programs like those offered by the USO San Diego,” Horn said. “I am happy to approve a $20,000 grant to support the Marine Corps Trials at Camp Pendleton and the 400 wounded, ill, and injured service members who will compete in the Paralympic events.”

The Forest Fire Lookout Association staffs fire lookouts and restores those sites when necessary. The San Diego-Riverside chapter is one of four in California. “What we do is restoration for the towers,” said chapter chief financial officer Bill Ulmer.

The Boucher lookout station was constructed in 1948 and the High Point station was built in 1964. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program allocation will help fund maintenance and electrical work at the Boucher station and will provide portable toilet facilities at the High Point station. A retaining wall to control erosion at the High Point location is also among eligible uses of the funding, and the county grant will also help cover the costs of purchasing updated equipment necessary for fire detection such as radios and weather instruments.

“Wildfires are a year-round threat here in San Diego County, and fire preparedness in District 5 is one of my top priorities,” Horn said. “This $13,360 grant for the Forest Fire Lookout Association will help pay for updated fire detection equipment for fire lookouts in and around the Cleveland National Forest.”

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