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Frank Ferry: City celebrates this year’s accomplishments

Posted: December 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

 

It has been my honor to serve as your mayor for 2012, and as the year comes to a close, I wanted to share some of the city of Santa Clarita’s accomplishments with you.

Santa Clarita Public Library

Perhaps one of our biggest accomplishments this year was the completion of the new 30,000-square-foot Old Town Newhall Library, which broke all records for visitors during its first few months.

In fact, the Santa Clarita Public Library as a whole experienced a heavy increase in visitors this past year, resulting in the addition of new technology services and public use computers at each of its branches.

The library also celebrated its first year of the new Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library group and established an adult literacy and an early literacy program, which were both identified in the library strategic service plan.

Old Town Newhall

This was a big year for Old Town Newhall as we celebrated the completion of several building improvement grants projects, transforming Main Street into a quaint street of eclectic shops, restaurants and theaters.

Economic development

Today’s tough economic times make it more important than ever for the city to find ways to produce revenue and boost our local economy. This past year, Santa Clarita made great strides in enhancing its image and economy by attracting events that benefited local businesses.

In 2012, the city saw an increase in hotel tax revenue as a result of its efforts to attract new events like the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy tournament and the Pac-12 Cross Country Championships.

The Santa Clarita Film Office had another record-breaking year, which resulted in an estimated $21 million in economic impact to local businesses and more than 370 film permits.

The city received its final designation for the expanded Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone, allowing businesses in the entire Santa Clarita Valley, including areas in unincorporated Los Angeles County, to be eligible for enterprise zone tax credits.

In the area of business attraction, several new retail businesses opened in 2012 including: Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ, Ultra Beauty, Larsen’s Steakhouse, Gold’s Gym and more.

We saw Aerospace Dynamics start construction on a new building to expand its business here in Santa Clarita. The city partnered with the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., to attract the accounting firm of King Aleman Jensen, as well as Precision Dynamics, to Santa Clarita, bringing quality employment opportunities to the community.

Public safety

In the area of public safety and in partnership with our Fire Department, two new fire stations opened this year, assuring that our homes and businesses remain protected. Our Sheriff’s Zone program had tremendous success in detecting, tracking and engaging the community and pro-actively solving crime within neighborhoods and key business areas.

While Santa Clarita enjoys an amazing quality of life, we are not without our issues. Our partnership with the Sheriff’s Department, local school districts and many nonprofit agencies went into high gear this year with tackling teen use of drugs and alcohol through the continuation of our Heroin Kills campaign and a new city-wide drug education program called DFYIT, which was launched in our local junior high schools and high schools.

Open space

Our quest for the preservation of open space continued in 2012 and will continue into 2013, with new purchases focused in the Newhall Pass, areas east of Santa Clarita and in the Bouquet Canyon area.

This past summer we celebrated the Elsmere Canyon Open Space area acquisition, culminating more than two decades of work by our city and our partners.

One of the most exciting open space projects is our new open space access plan, which provides residents with trailhead facilities, trail extensions and public access to over 900 acres of local open space.

In the spring, we launched HikeSantaClarita.com providing hiking information and a map of these areas and new trails to the public. We dedicated the new Iron Horse trail in June, combining the old 1898 trestle bridge with a new trail and custom and historic art piece.

Each of these great things happens through our partnerships with our community, businesses, City Council and through the great work of our city staff.

Frank Ferry is the mayor of the city of Santa Clarita and can be reached at: fferry@santa-clarita.com.

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