At their Tuesday evening meeting, the Lakewood City Council approved a plan for spending $986,000 in a new round of federal CARES Act funding the city will receive to assist businesses, individuals and the city government.
The council decided to spend part of the funding on a new round of grants to Lakewood businesses that have suffered losses because of the COVID pandemic. The new grants will total $5,000 each—a boost from the initial round of $1,000 grants. City staff will have the new grant application process worked out quickly, and the process will be publicized in the Lakewood Connect eMagazine and the city website.
To assist individuals, the city will provide $100,000 to Project Shepherd, which is the local charity that has helped Lakewood residents in need for 45 years.
The city will also use some of the funds to cover increased costs it has incurred in dealing with the pandemic, such as providing personal protective gear to city staff, installing plexiglass shields inside City Hall to protect the public and workers, and adding technology to reduce in-person meetings and increase electronic record-keeping.
At the beginning of the council meeting, Council Member Diane DuBois announced that she would be retiring from the council effective Sept. 1. DuBois has served 15 years on the council and, before that, 28 years on the city’s Planning and Environment Commission, making her the Lakewood resident with the longest combined service as a city official in Lakewood’s history.
“I want to say thank you to our residents, our businesses, and our community organizations,” said DuBois. “We have beautiful streets and parks in Lakewood, but most of all we have people, businesses and community groups who care about their city and care about each other. I fell in love with Lakewood and its people 60 years ago when I moved here, and I’m still in love with our community today. But after 43 years of serving officially, I am ready to retire, relax a bit and give someone else a chance to sit in this seat.”
“Diane, you have been a part of so much good that has happened in Lakewood for so many years,” said Mayor Todd Rogers. “It’s just not going to be the same here without you.
“I’m going to miss so much about you…your collegiality, your friendship, your humor, your wisdom, and your good common sense that helped steer us in a positive direction for so many years. But I know you deserve to have some less stressful, less busy times, and so I totally understand that you eventually had to make the decision to hang up your spurs, if you will, and relax and do some other things.”
Council Member DuBois’ service to the community extended beyond her role on the City Council. She was an active member of many civic and non-profit groups, including Soroptimists International of Lakewood/Long Beach, the Pan American Association, Pathways Volunteer Hospice, and the board of the Lakewood Regional Medical Center. She also served in several key roles in regional government organizations. She was the first Lakewood resident ever to serve on the board of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). She sat on the board for eight years, including one year as chair.
“Your service on Metro played an important role in focusing more of that agency’s attention on our region of L.A. County,” said Rogers. “The fact that Metro is fully funding the current project at Lakewood and Del Amo boulevards is a testament to the efforts you made to bring more Metro dollars to improve transportation in our region of the county.”
The city is planning to honor DuBois in a COVID-safe way at the council meeting on Oct. 13. That meeting, along with all Lakewood City Council meetings, can be viewed live or streaming afterwards at www.lakewoodcity.org/CouncilVideos.
The City Council will discuss plans for how to fill DuBois’ seat at a future meeting.
This article was released by the City of Lakewood.