First and foremost, I want to wish you and your loved ones happy holidays from the bottom of my heart. I know how difficult this past year has been on us, and this time of year reminds us to continue to support one another while also appreciating the many blessings we have in our own lives. We will be celebrating the holidays differently this year. Our family always gets together for Christmas, but this year, in order to keep everyone safe, we will be on Zoom, opening our presents in our own homes. 2020 has been a terrible year, but as our Santa Clarita community has faced terrible times in 2019, and come through them together, we will put 2020 behind us and look forward to better times in 2021.
While the coronavirus pandemic led the city of Santa Clarita to modify services and adjust or cancel major events and programs this year, I am proud to say that community partnerships and the support of residents led to the opening of a number of amenities. This year has reinforced the importance of participating in online programs to boost our mental and physical health, and residents of all ages have new ways to do so.
The inclusive play area at Canyon Country Park opened in January and is a place where those of all ages and abilities can play to their heart’s content. Though the playground equipment is closed under current public health orders, I know we all look forward to getting back on the swings, slides and zip line once the playground reopens.
The Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita is a dedicated space for BMX riders and mountain bikers to enjoy their sport at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, and the new Plum Canyon Park offers playground equipment, unparalleled views of the Santa Clarita Valley and the first dedicated baseball field at a city park.
Although these projects have given residents new opportunities for safe recreation in a difficult time, it really is the resilience of each of you in the face of enormous obstacles that have kept our spirit going in Santa Clarita. The support you have shown to friends and strangers alike – by frequenting local businesses struggling amid the shutdown and lending helping hands to seniors and neighbors in need of groceries and other items – exemplifies the spirit that makes our city the best place to live, work and raise our families.
We can continue displaying that spirit during the holiday season by spreading joy throughout the community. No matter your passion, there is a nonprofit organization in Santa Clarita in need of your generous donations to be able to continue providing services.
The holiday season is a time to build warm, lasting memories, but it can also be one of the most difficult times of the year for those in need. By donating your time or making a monetary or physical contribution, you will be a shining light that will make a difference in your neighbors’ lives.
Of course, there is also plenty to do and see in Santa Clarita before the holidays are over. If you have not been, now is the perfect opportunity to drive to Old Town Newhall to see Main Street illuminated by thousands of lights and decorations.
Don’t forget to take your photo in front of the Old Town Newhall Library, where you will once again find the city’s giant Christmas tree sparkling with beautiful lights and ornaments. Act fast – Main Street will return to its usual Western charm shortly after the start of the new year!
As we look back on 2020, it is important to keep in mind all of the positive experiences we have had this year. While there are tangible things, such as the opening of new parks and progress made on capital improvement projects, there are also the intangibles – added time spent with family, taking time to explore the outdoors, building bonds by helping neighbors in need.
Please pause this week and reflect on the blessings in your life as we end one chapter and begin another. Once again, I wish you and your loved ones happy holidays and a bright and healthy 2021.
Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].