By Ken Striplin
In 2015, the City of Santa Clarita took on an aggressive strategic planning process with a goal of effectively prioritizing resources, achieving milestones and maintaining an unwavering commitment to the Santa Clarita community to offer the best services and facilities now and into the future. Dubbed Santa Clarita 2020, or SC2020 for short, the first step in the process was to reach out to you, our residents, to see what action items you wanted to see in SC2020.
The City launched the bi-annual Public Opinion Poll in 2014 with 44 questions covering a wide range of topics residents could weigh in on, such as why they chose Santa Clarita as their home; what new retail/restaurant opportunities they would like to see; did the City need more playgrounds, dog parks, parking spaces, teen activities, public transit, etc.; and much more. In addition, information was also gathered through the Community Development Block Grant community needs assessment survey and outreach through the Parks and Recreation Workplan, the Arts Master Plan and our City’s General Plan, just to name a few. The results showed residents desired additional youth activities, road/traffic enhancements, public safety facilities, more parks/sports fields and additional open space. All in all, the plan called for more than $150 million to be invested back into the community.
The City then got to work, and here are a few examples of the completed projects from SC2020.
Under the Public Safety theme, work continued on the new $68 million Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Fire Station 104 was completed and more than 27,000 students took part in the proactive Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita (DFY in SCV) program. The Building and Creating Community theme contained some of the milestone projects in SC2020, including the new $85 million Canyon Country Community Center, two major bridge widening projects, the Arts Master Plan, major progress toward community collaboration to address homelessness and support of the beautiful new SCV Senior Center. A significant accomplishment within the theme of Enhancing Economic Vitality was the completion of the redevelopment block in Old Town Newhall, which now includes a City-owned parking structure, mixed-use retail/residential buildings and a new Laemmle Theatre. Some of the items under Community Beautification include adding to the green belt that surrounds Santa Clarita, which has now reached more than 11,000 acres; beautifying more than 11 miles of median; and removing well over 70,000 graffiti tags. Under Sustaining Public Infrastructure, the City acquired and converted 16,522 streetlights to LED fixtures, diverted 10.6 percent more material tonnage from landfills and completed 3,500 sidewalk repairs. For the theme of Proactive, Transparent and Responsive Government, Santa Clarita saw the two-decade-long battle over the CEMEX mega-mine come to a close with all mining contracts expiring (no mining ever occurred).
Under the guidance and leadership of our City Council, we were able to successfully complete the Santa Clarita 2020 strategic plan, which can be reviewed at santa-clarita.com /santa-clarita-2020. Work is already underway on the recently developed Santa Clarita 2025 (SC2025). You can review the action items in SC2025 online at santa-clarita.com/SC2025.
Ken Striplin can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.