Within only a few days of its initial ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Canyon Country Community Center hosted hundreds of residents and business leaders who gathered to hear city officials deliver the 2021 State of the City on Thursday.
This year’s theme of “All-Star City” paid homage to the various projects and facilities that the city completed over the past year in spite of the community also dealing with a global pandemic, according to officials.
In his first State of the City address as mayor, Bill Miranda reviewed the various highlights from the city’s past year, highlighting the newly completed Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the purchasing and revitalization of The Cube ice rink and, most recently, the opening of the Canyon Country Community Center, among other projects.
“Yes, we are fiscally responsible; and, yes, we are embracing diversity and inclusion; and, yes, we are building a better community,” said Miranda during his remarks at the podium. “All those things are what we’re all about; those reasons we serve this community and we love all of you.”
Following in the tradition of years past, each member of the City Council had time to speak at the podium, sharing the latest news and updates about specific aspects of city services and programs throughout the past year.
Councilwoman Laurene Weste discussed a variety of topics she has been involved with both personally and as a member of the council, including the city’s work with the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in refurbishing the various historical buildings at Heritage Junction in Newhall; showcasing the new and developing businesses in Old Town Newhall; and the acquiring of new open spaces and hiking/biking/walking trail improvements throughout the city.
Also speaking at the event with a new title for the first time, Councilman Jason Gibbs discussed the various local programs put in place by City Hall that allowed a number of local businesses and restaurants to stay open or operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic — such as the issuance of outdoor dining permits and the $500,000 worth of grants given to 147 local businesses to help them recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Gibbs also said the city has seen a downturn in certain types of local crime over the past year, but said the downturn in illegal activity occurred in spite of recent mandates made by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
During the video she narrated, Councilwoman Marsha McLean showed how the Vista Canyon Metrolink Station, opened in October of last year, has been assisting local residents in their daily commutes on the Antelope Valley line. She also said the city had improved 405 sidewalks and driveways, treated 70 lane miles of roadways and saw more than 7 million visits to the Santa Clarita libraries.
McLean shared that she was pleased that these services, along with city-held events — such as Concerts in the Park, Movies Under the Stars; The Incredible Chase, as well as others — were being used and attended by local residents.
For the final speech of the event, Councilman Cameron Smyth shared that youth/adult sports and activities were once again being organized and ran by city staff, and facilities, such as the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center and Trek Bike Park, had been used by thousands of residents throughout the pandemic.
The city, Smyth said, had also seen regular use of its parks by local residents, the expansion of public art installations and displays, and a 2021 local film year with 462 filming permits issued equaling roughly 1,300 filming hours and $34 million spent locally. He also stated local agency partnerships had led to a more accurate homeless count locally, more services being available to the homeless populations and the year-round operating of a local homeless shelter.