City closes 2019 with 2020 Strategic Plan progress

Members of the Santa Clarita City Council and other dignitaries cut the ribbon for the Newhall Ranch Road Road bridge widening project Wednesday morning. Cory Rubin/The Signal

2019 came with highs and lows for the city of Santa Clarita but this month it turned 32 years old, a new year with new goals as it inches closer to the completion of its 2020 Strategic Plan. 

“It was a year of challenges and sadness, but also of progress and accomplishments,” City Manager Ken Striplin said in a statement. “I am proud of the programs, projects and initiatives that we completed and look forward to the new year as we move into the home stretch of our Santa Clarita 2020 Strategic Plan.” 

Over the past four years, the plan has guided the city with its six major work areas: public safety, building and creating community, enhancing economic vitality, community beautification, sustaining public infrastructure, and proactive, transparent and responsive government services. 

This year, the city made several strides in each of the six categories. 

Under public safety, for example, the City Council approved in May steps for the $67.3 million construction of the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road, which is expected for completion by 2021. Just down the road is the Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 104, which progressed its vertical buildup this year and is slated to open in 2020. 

Safety itself improved in Santa Clarita, Councilman Bob Kellar said at this year’s State of the City event. Part one crimes, such as homicide, rape, robbery and burglary, dropped by 24.9% compared to last year, marking an all-time low mark. In November, the City Council accepted a grant of $330,000 to continue funding programs aimed at curbing youth crime.

The city claimed significant victories this year in a decades-long legal battle over the proposed Cemex mining project in the Soledad Canyon area after much back-and-forth between the mining company and the Bureau of Land Management. As of late, state water officials have placed a hold on Cemex’s request for water, citing uncertainty about its efforts to mine. 

“We will remain vigilant and see how this most recent development plays out, but this is definitely another win, in what has been a two-decades-long battle to prevent mega-mining in our community,” said Kellar in a previous interview. 

From building the new Sierra Highway pedestrian bridge and engraving poems on city sidewalks to widening Newhall Ranch Road and adding nine new electric vehicle charging stations, pedestrians and motorists were also a priority for the city this year. 

This year also came with tragedy, following the deadly Saugus High School shooting in November and the Tick Fire in October that engulfed some residents’ homes. 

But with a new year ahead, there will be a great focus on healing, said newly named Mayor Cameron Smyth after his appointment on Dec. 10. 

This coming year, residents can expect to see advancements in several projects including the new Canyon Country Community Center, the city’s first inclusive playground, which will be located at Canyon Country Park, and the expansion of Central Park. 

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