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State of the City offers time to look ahead, reflect

Posted: October 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 17, 2013 2:00 a.m.

City of Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar introduces his fellow council members at the State of the City Luncheon held in the the Hyatt Regency Valencia grand ball room on Wednesday. Photo by Dan Watson.

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The annual State of the City luncheons usually provide a chance for Santa Clarita City Council members to brag about the past year’s accomplishments, tout their projects for the next year and maybe clown around a little bit.

But City Councilman Frank Ferry hushed the crowd Wednesday by admitting he’s been at times brash and abrasive during his 16 years as a councilman — and then telling the group, “I’m sorry.”

“There’s no other community like this one, and when I look out at you guys I know you have the same love of this community that I do,” Ferry told the audience packed into the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom. “So thank you very much, I’m sorry and I love you guys.”

Ferry announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election, so Wednesday’s State of the City event was his last.

Following the luncheon, Ferry said that fact didn’t hit him until he was in his car and on his way there.

“I just started reminiscing about the last 16 years and all the things we’ve been able to do,” he said.

The city’s accomplishments of the past year were central to the State of the City luncheon, and council members paused during the program to thank the city’s 400-plus employees for their hard work and dedication.

Video messages from council members highlighted a variety of transit projects, service expansions and program offerings that have gone into effect in the last year or are planned for the near future.

Some major projects include the ongoing expansion of the McBean Parkway bridge near Avenue Scott in Valencia and construction of a park and ride at the McBean Regional Transit Center.

Economics and the healthy state of the city’s budget were also highlighted, with Councilman TimBen Boydston speaking about record-setting filming in Santa Clarita and Mayor Bob Kellar talking about major events injecting money into the local economy.

“We haven’t just endured through the challenges of the Great Recession; we’ve banded together to overcome, thrive and come out a stronger, more connected community,” Kellar said.

Councilwoman Laurene Weste talked about the continuing property purchases for open space preservation, while Councilwoman Marsha McLean discussed improvements in mass transit, including the expansion of Metrolink access to and from Santa Clarita, as well as the robust use of the city’s library system.
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