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Reflecting on a remarkable 2013 in the SCV

Posted: December 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 20, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

In 2013, Santa Clarita continued to rise above the challenges of the Great Recession, helping to build a strong community.

This year, we hosted some of the best events in the world, attracted sought-after businesses, and completed numerous infrastructure projects — all while providing valuable services to residents and maintaining a balanced budget.

Our community expects great things from our leaders, businesses and local government, and I believe Santa Clarita consistently delivers on those expectations, making our city one of the best in California and a community others strive to emulate.

I would like to share a few highlights from the last 12 months.

A major highlight for me this year was our many community and state partnerships.
Whether it is our award-winning school districts and colleges, our nonprofit agencies, local special districts, the

business community, or the excellent leadership provided by our City Council, Santa Clarita is blessed to have an engaged group of leaders who truly care about the high quality of life in our community.

This talented group of leaders and residents helped continue the significant momentum of our work to prevent the 56-million-ton mega-mine in Soledad Canyon.

After 14 years, this year we saw major milestones including Senator Dianne Feinstein’s support of Senator

Barbara Boxer’s bill, support of the bill by the state of California, and a Senate hearing on the bill in Washington D.C.

A number of awards and recognitions were bestowed on Santa Clarita this year. We made tremendous strides in public safety by reducing crime and proactively handling gang, drug use, graffiti and property crime issues.

Our crime rate is at its lowest point since cityhood and this year, the FBI ranked Santa Clarita as the 10th safest city in the nation.

Liveability.com named Santa Clarita one of the 100 best places to live, and the 2013 California Retail Survey rated Santa Clarita among the Top 100 Retail Markets in California, with a retail market above $2 billion.

The city and Los Angeles County received the Compass Blueprint Award for the joint general plan “One Valley One Vision,” and the American Public Works Association named the city’s Director of Public Works Robert Newman as

“Leader of the Year” and the Old Town Newhall Library as “Project of the Year.”

The League of California Cities also awarded Santa Clarita with its highest honor; the Helen Putnam award for excellence in the category of Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement for the city’s Granada Villa Neighborhood Committee.

This program helped to enable a turnaround in gang and crime issues by forming partnerships among residents, city staff, local service agencies and law enforcement.

But awards are just part of our story for 2013. This year, the city received nearly $12 million in grant funding, welcomed more than 900,000 patrons at our three library branches, synchronized 43 traffic intersections, and saw our biggest year to date for location filming resulting in an estimated $28.5 million in spending by film companies at local businesses as a result of location filming alone.

The city has already completed 32 capital improvement projects this year, with 83 more in progress. We recently opened the new McBean Park and Ride facility at the McBean Regional Transit Station, adding 282 parking spaces and environmentally friendly elements that are also neighborhood-friendly in design.

We worked to keep community kids off drugs by launching the Drug Free Youth in Town program, which gathered participation from more than 850 students throughout the William S. Hart Union High School District.

We also hosted the third annual Heroin Kills symposium and took a leadership role hosting a tri-cities anti-drug summit with Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.

We are always looking for new ways to keep our residents informed and connected with what’s happening in the city and found many enjoy connecting virtually with City Hall.

We processed more than 19,000 online service requests and inquiries through our eService system in 2013, receiving high ratings from residents for service and response time.

In the area of events, Santa Clarita was the host stage for both a start and a finish for the Amgen Tour of California bike race. This year also marked the 20th annual Cowboy Festival with record weekend attendance.

And 2013 marked our third year of the popular Thursdays at Newhall events in Old Town Newhall, and our free summer concerts series at Central Park drew thousands.

With the year quickly coming to a close, I want to personally wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and all the best for a prosperous New Year.

Here at City Hall, we are already looking at programs, projects and activities for 2014 and beyond to make Santa Clarita an even better city.

City Manager Ken Striplin can be reached at kstriplin@santa-clarita.com.

 

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