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Bob Kellar: Santa Clarita celebrates 25 years of cityhood

Posted: December 14, 2012 7:53 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2012 7:53 p.m.
 

It is truly an honor to continue the tradition of a responsive, professional local government working for the benefit of our residents.

Over the last quarter century, the city of Santa Clarita has certainly made its imprint on the region and in the state.

Transitioning from a sleepy bedroom community into Los Angeles County’s third largest city with a population of more than 200,000 people, Santa Clarita is one of California’s best cities.

When the city first incorporated, it was amidst a housing boom that was transforming the area — and not always for the better.

Rampant growth, inadequate infrastructure and tax dollars leaving the area became the battle cry for local home rule.

Early cityhood pioneers worked hard for many years to create the area’s first city, and on December 15, 1987, that dream became a reality.

Cityhood has helped transform Santa Clarita into the award-winning community it is today. For the last 25 years, locally generated tax dollars have funded major community projects, including 60 miles of off-street trails and paseos, dozens of new parks, new roads and bridges, two dog parks, the Sports Complex and Skatepark, landscaped medians, Aquatics Center, three Metrolink stations and the Santa Clarita Public Library, to name a few.
Additionally, the benefits of local government representation have added amenities to the community such as transportation services, neighborhood safety, high-quality recreation and sports programs, location and studio filming and so much more.

Along the way we’ve also learned lessons about forming and developing a successful city. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that it takes strong community partners and local government representation to stand up for an area.

Otherwise, we’d have things like the world’s largest garbage dump in Elsmere Canyon, a huge development like Las Lomas at our border and a mega-mining project like Cemex on the east side of Santa Clarita.

The city has also learned that sometimes larger projects take a little longer than we want, but the payoff is worth the wait. For example, look at the cross-valley connector. It may have taken more than 10 years to build the 8.5-mile roadway, but now more than 44,000 vehicles a day use it to travel continuously from one side of Santa Clarita to the other which as reduced cross-town travel times by 30 percent.

The goal of the city of Santa Clarita has always been to be an active participant and an advocate for an unparalleled lifestyle that includes top-notch schools, a thriving business community, numerous shopping and dining options, wide open spaces and healthy living.

As a City Council member, it’s not uncommon to be stopped in the grocery store, at a local park or at a community event by residents who want to tell us about what Santa Clarita means to them.
For many, it is the many landscaped medians that we’ve added citywide, or the annual concerts in the parks that foster a sense of family.

For others, it’s the feeling of community safety they enjoy most.

I’m happy to report that this year the city of Santa Clarita received its lowest crime rate in the history of our city, thanks to the tireless efforts of our local Sheriff’s Department.

Still others talk about annual traditions like the marathon, Cowboy Festival or Earth Arbor day, which bring our community together for special celebrations.

What they all have in common is a genuine love of our city, and we couldn’t agree more.

As the Santa Clarita City Council looks forward to the next 25 years, we have an ambitious work program that we will address. We will continue to look at building more roads and infrastructure; resolving the Whittaker-Bermite issue; preventing the Cemex mine; and adding more preserved open space.

Additionally, we will look for ways to ensure that the city has adequate funding to support improvements and infrastructure, which allow for a strong quality of life for our residents and businesses. We want to thank you for your interest and participation in our city. I hope you will consider helping us plan for the future by sharing your ideas and feedback.

As always, please feel free to email me directly at bkellar@santa-clarita.com, or join me at an upcoming City Council meeting (held the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m.)

Thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to working with you for the betterment of our city in 2013.

Bob Kellar is Santa Clarita’s mayor and can be reached at bkellar@santa-clarita.com.

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