Forget PowerPoint presentations. What’s a “City of the Arts” celebration without a creative twist to this year’s Santa Clarita State of the City?
From tap dancing by Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and a memorable trumpet performance by Councilman Bob Kellar to dropping the mic at the end of Councilman Cameron Smyth’s rap, it’s safe to say the city did not miss a beat on its current state.
The City Council shared Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Valencia with notables and members of the community its accomplishments and what is yet to come for Santa Clarita.
“My city colleagues and I, along with our staff, are very passionate and dedicated to making Santa Clarita this amazing city that we live in,” Mayor Laurene Weste said to attendees.
“Santa Clarita has a very high quality of life,” she added. “We pride ourselves in our vast open spaces, our western heritage and our well-managed community. We are known as a creative, artistic community with a thriving economic vitality.”
Through a series of video presentations, each of the five council members discussed a handful of topics highlighting the quality Weste mentioned.
To fall in line with the “City of the Arts” theme, the mayor reflected on the formation of the Arts Master Plan two years ago, which is helping map out a long-term plan for local arts, entertainment and cultural development. Since then, she said, the city has increased funding for its Arts Grants program by 50 percent, refurbished the Newhall Family Theatre for the Performing Arts and launched santaclaritaarts.com.
Weste also spotlighted the city’s efforts in reaching nearly 10,000 acres of ensured open space, with the recent addition of the 176-acre San Francisquito Open Space.
Financially, she presented, the city is stable thanks to its 2018-19 budget at $203 million, with a 20 percent reserve.
On the topic of roads and transportation, McLean said she was proud that 2.3 million people rode city buses, more than 450,000 used commuter services and nearly 39 miles worth of road improvements had been conducted so far.
“More is on the way,” she said in regards to road repairs, additional transportation options like the Vista Canyon development’s Transit Center and Metrolink Station, as well as a new Saugus library and arts center.
Kellar covered the city’s advances on public safety, including a 19 percent crime drop, a 12-percent reduction in collisions and those involving cyclists were down 10 percent from last year.
“This decrease means that the proactive results taken by the Sheriff’s Department are leading to a safer Santa Clarita for all,” he said.
Councilman Bill Miranda highlighted several city-wide events including the annual Concerts in the Park and the upcoming Santa Clarita Marathon and Light Up Main Street. On film, he mentioned that the city issued more than 300 permits for productions, contributing $16.9 million to the local economy.
Smyth closed by sharing Santa Clarita is “the most business-friendly city,” highlighting its Business Incubator, which helps stimulate growth through entrepreneur and economic development. He also discussed employment and the city’s efforts on addressing homelessness.