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Ken Pulskamp: What a year it has been for Santa Clarita

Live from City Hall

Posted: December 31, 2010 5:44 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2011 6:00 a.m.
 

With 2010 coming to a close, I wanted to share with you some of the achievements your City Council and staff have made this year, benefiting our entire community. 

This year, the city of Santa Clarita has achieved several milestones, some of which have been in the works for well over a decade. 

In 2010, the city opened the final section of the $245 million cross-valley connector roadway, ultimately providing a new link between Highway 14 and Interstate 5 through the city, and dramatically reducing cross-town commutes. 

We began the creation of a new library system, assuring that 100 percent of locally-generated library tax dollars remains in our community to be spent on our three local libraries. 

We resolved two major lawsuits and created a way forward for the complicated 996-acre Whittaker-Bermite property in the center of the city. We purchased more than 1,500 acres of open space land this year, including the beautiful Elsmere Canyon property, formerly targeted as the world’s largest trash dump.

And that’s just the highlights.

In 2010, the city opened its first passive recreation park in Canyon Country — the 25-acre Discovery Park — turning a one-time dumping area of the Santa Clara River into a beautiful bird-watching and picnicking spot.

At Central Park, we completed our first-ever 3.1-mile cross country course, which was celebrated as part of the local high schools’ cross country Foothill League finals.

In Old Town Newhall, the city completed the second phase of the five-block streetscape project, adding new landscape, hardscape, street furniture, pedestrian walkways and decorative lighting to all of Main Street. 

At the corner of Lyons Avenue and Main Street, the city is under construction for a new, state-of-the-art 30,000-square-foot Old Town Newhall Library that will serve as a major focal point, resource and community gathering spot for the area.

This year, we broke ground for our first community garden project at Central Park; hopefully the start of several community gardens in our city.

We began an innovative solar-panel project at our Transit Maintenance Facility that will provide 97 percent of the needed power for the entire Transit Maintenance facility.

We opened our new permit center at City Hall, providing a one-stop-shop for residents and builders.

In the area of economic development, we helped bring 750 new jobs to the city; saved local businesses $56 million through our Enterprise Zone program; awarded 45 local businesses over $665,000 in grants through the city’s Green Energy Incentive Program; and helped nearly 17,000 people this year through the WorkSource partnership with College of the Canyons. 

We completed a City Council election, hosted scores of special events, partnered with Los Angeles County and COC to provide thousands of flu vaccines; helped avert a transit strike; eradicated graffiti within 24 hours citywide; increased street-sweeping services in the fall; produced a balanced, on time budget; won several local, state and national awards, including a prestigious state award for our Extreme Neighborhood Makeover program; and completed several traffic improvements citywide.

At a time when municipalities are struggling to provide services, the city of Santa Clarita has had quite an exceptional year.

I want you, our community, to know that these achievements didn’t just happen — they were attained through hard work, excellent planning and follow through, and most importantly, through the leadership of the Santa Clarita City Council. 

It is truly an honor to serve this city and to be a part of this incredible team of elected officials, staff and volunteers. 

Ken Pulskamp is the city manager for the city of Santa Clarita and can be reached at: kpulskamp@santa-clarita.com. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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