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Holly Schroeder: Santa Clarita Valley’s myths debunked

Posted: February 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Working to recruit new businesses to the Santa Clarita Valley, I come across a lot of misconceptions about our valley.

Part of our role at the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation is to change those perspectives so companies can evaluate whether the SCV is a good location for their business’s future success.

Let’s take a look at the reality of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Myth 1: The Santa Clarita Valley is far away.

This myth, coming mostly from residents in Los Angeles, confuses miles with time, which everyone knows don’t correlate in the megalopolis that is Los Angeles County.

It’s about 20 miles to Magic Mountain Boulevard from the 405/101 intersection, where most commuters exit to access the Industrial Center.

But since it’s a reverse commute, it takes on most mornings about 25 minutes to drive. Compare that to the 14 miles from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, which the morning news regularly reports as 50-60 minutes: likely a frustrating, traffic-jammed, stressful 50-60 minutes.

In addition to easy access for employees, industries in the Santa Clarita Valley find easy transport for their suppliers and finished products.

Myth 2: Santa Clarita is just a residential suburb; there’s no economic base.

Santa Clarita’s roots as a bedroom community come back to haunt it in this myth. Sure, the Santa Clarita Valley is still a great place to raise your kids, with good schools and parks.

But it’s also home to more than 30 million square feet of industrial and commercial office space and more than 125,000 jobs.

Major aerospace suppliers call SCV home, and the Mann Biomedical Park is a model for similar business parks across the country.

Thanks to well-planned industrial and office parks, Santa Clarita boasts a positive jobs-to-housing ratio.

Since half our working population still commutes outside the valley, businesses relocating to the Santa Clarita Valley find an available, qualified work force ready to help them succeed.

Myth 3: Santa Clarita is a small town.

Santa Clarita is now the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 18th largest city in California.

Santa Clarita is recognized as one of the 100 best places to live by and was ranked one of the top five cities in offering amenities for entertainment, culture, healthy living and recreation for its residents.

Myth 4: You can’t get a degree in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Most people know that the Santa Clarita K-12 school systems consistently outperform other school systems in the state.

But the Santa Clarita Valley also offers the opportunity to get a four-year degree right here.

The California Institute of the Arts is probably better known everywhere else in the country than it is right here at home.

Meanwhile, The Master’s College is ranked in the first tier of regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report.
College of the Canyons, known as an outstanding community college, has opened its University Center, where one can access undergraduate and graduate degree programs from universities across California.

Myth 5: Santa Clarita is in the middle of nowhere.

I like to say that Santa Clarita is in the middle of everywhere. You can get to mountains in less than an hour, to the beach in less than 45 minutes, to any of three great golf courses in less than 30 minutes, to great hiking in less than 20, to great parks in less than 10 minutes, and to a great theme park, Magic Mountain, anytime you want.

At the EDC, we call the Santa Clarita Valley the “gateway between Northern and Southern California” because of the access to freeways in any direction a business needs.

For residents, that access leads to just about anywhere one would want to go, but there’s always the option to stay here and enjoy the Santa Clarita Valley.

Holly Schroeder is president and CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation.



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