Mayor quite positive about state of the City
More than 100 people attended the annual State of the City luncheon at Almansor Court on May 23.
Mayor David Mejia gave the annual State of the City address at a luncheon on May 23 at Almansor Court bringing business owners, residents, civic leaders, and City staff together to reflect on City accomplishments from the past year and to review plans for the future.
“I am very proud to say that the state of the City of Alhambra is very healthy,” said Mr. Mejia.
Some of the items and issues Mr. Mejia spoke about included:
- The Management Services Department is taking measures to combat the homeless epidemic. Using some of the HUD funds that were received as a result of the sale of redevelopment agency property, the City has contracted with Union Station Homeless Shelter in Pasadena to provide outreach services to the homeless population in Alhambra.
- The Administrative Services Department has taken additional measures to be transparent in everything that is done, including live-streaming City Council meetings on the City’s website and rolling out a subscription service for e-mail delivery of City Council agendas.
- A variety of special events are planned for 2017: The City partners with the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Alhambra Business Association to put on the fourth Annual Pumpkin Run, taking place on Main Street this year. MainFest, the successful music and arts festival that took place on Main Street last September, returns. In 2018, the City will unveil its 90th Rose Parade float.
- In 2017, a variety of upgrades and improvements were made in the parks system: Almansor Park received an LED lighting retrofit, resurfacing of the jogging trail, and rehabilitation of the restrooms. Emery Park will receive new playground equipment. The City received a generous donation from the Navigage Foundation to assist with the removal of the former pool at Joslyn Center, replacing it with a shaded area for senior citizens to enjoy.
- The revival of the Alhambra Place Shopping Center at Garfield and Main features great restaurants like Tokyo Table, The Big Catch, Blaze Pizza, and Habit Burger, as well as retail such as Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Burlington, Maido, and Vidorra. Alhambra Place also includes 260 beautiful luxury apartments.
- Commercial projects that have been approved and will begin construction very soon include Commonwealth Plaza at Date and Commonwealth across from Costco. This long-vacant property will be the future home of Panera Bread, McDonald’s, Ahi Poke Bowl, and more. Two other long-vacant and abandoned buildings have just been demolished and will be replaced with state-of-the-art medical facilities at the former Facey facility on East Main and the former Raymond Hotel on Raymond. Toyota will rebuild its showroom, while BMW will expand to the rear to store more vehicles and operate more service bays.
- Several projects are in various stages of approval from Building and Planning, such as the Charles Company’s development of a Lowe’s home improvement store and office space on Fremont Avenue. In addition to building new facilities, the City is also concerned with infilling any vacant property, such as the former Fresh and Easy location on West Main. Howard’s Appliances next door has moved to the former Fresh and Easy site, and in the Howard’s location will be Aldi Grocery Store. Additional residential and retail projects include Stoneman Villas on North Stoneman and Camelia Court on Valley, formerly the Kensington.
- The Home Rehabilitation program lets Alhambra homeowners apply for a grant from HUD for the City to rehab their home.
- The City of Alhambra’s Fire Department has implemented a software solution called Pulse Point, which allows anyone to receive notices from the Fire Emergency Communications Center of any incidents located in public places where CPR might be needed and an automatic external defibrillator is available. Based on settings the person configures in the app, they may be able to be the first to arrive to a situation where a person is going into sudden cardiac arrest. In addition to Pulse Point, the Department is launching Everbridge, a mass notification system similar to Nixle. This year, the Department will purchase two new fire engines and has purchased a new paramedic ambulance that is already on the street.
- The Alhambra Police Department has rolled out Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and Weibo (a Chinese language social media service) to reach out to the entire Alhambra community. The Department is focused on community oriented policing, with programs such as School Resource Officers assigned to the high schools. A police officer and his partner from Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health are assigned to deal with a variety of mental health issues from suicide, domestic violence, and homelessness.
- The City estimates it will spend about $4.5 million in HUD money on improving and replacing streets and alleys, sidewalks, ADA crosswalks, and other pedestrian improvements.
- Over the next year, sewer lines, water lines, sewer lift stations, and much more will be replaced. This is all in addition to the significant drought protective measures the City has taken to conserve water over the last few years.
- In the fiscal year 2016-17, the City’s projected General Fund operating budget is balanced with a slight surplus of $44,411. Despite the continued slow growth in the economy, this budget has been prepared without the need for tax increases or employee layoffs or mandatory furloughs. Additionally, the budget does not require reductions of on-going services or programs.
Presenting sponsors of this event were the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Alhambra, and Southern California Edison.
Sponsors were the City of Alhambra, Alhambra Hospital Medical Center, Evike.com Inc., Republic Services, San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority, San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, and The Ratkovich Co./The Alhambra.
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