Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Department of Water and Power distributed checks Thursday to businesses struggling financially due to an ongoing water pipeline project in the San Fernando Valley.

Councilman Paul Krekorian joined DWP officials to hand out the checks — including one totaling $18,000, the maximum amount — to four businesses along Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood.

Santiago Vintage Shop, which claimed a loss of 90 percent of its revenue since the project began, received the biggest payout of $18,000. Other shops that received checks today included two other antique shops and a store selling martial arts equipment and supplies.

The four shops are among the 13 businesses that have so far been awarded money to make up for losing customers and revenue during the construction of the “Upper Reach 5 and 6” segments of the River Supply Conduit Project that began last March and is expected to last until 2018. The DWP is installing 15,800 feet of a water transmission pipeline in order to better meet regulations, move more water and make water service more reliable.

A total of $209,000 has been awarded to affected businesses, with more checks expected to be issued as the project continues.

The funding for the program comes out of the pipe replacement project’s budget. Similar programs have been offered by other agencies, but this is the first time the DWP has paid businesses that suffered losses due to a project, according to city officials.

The pipe replacement project is “critical to upgrading our city’s aging water supply infrastructure” and could take “several years to complete and greatly impact the surrounding community and businesses,” Krekorian said.

“The vibrant small business community along the project in North Hollywood has been devastated by the ongoing construction,” he said.

Krekorian said he worked with DWP officials to get the program going and hopes that similar financial assistance can be provided to businesses affected by other projects.

–City News Service

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