By Mayor Pro Tem Jason Gibbs
For many, birthdays mark a time to celebrate another year of life among friends and family. For others, it may be a time for quiet reflection on the past or anxiously looking forward to the future. How ever you view or celebrate birthdays, I believe on these special days that it is important to acknowledge achievements over the past year, new experiences gained, challenges overcame, memories made and lessons learned. Looking over the city of Santa Clarita’s 34-year history, our community has grown and I only expect more exciting developments to be on the horizon.
The city of Santa Clarita’s 34th birthday is special to me because it marks my first year in office as a City Council member. Over the past year, I have learned so much from my fellow council members, city staff, local agency partners and, of course, the residents of our exceptional community. Coming off the heels of the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2021, I am amazed at our community’s consistent resilience when faced with adversity, and the continued support for both residents and businesses throughout Santa Clarita. It is this mentality that has afforded our community the success, opportunities and accolades it has received over the last three decades.
Throughout 2021 there are numerous initiatives and projects that have come to fruition that should give our community a sense of pride. For one, we saw the opening of The Cube – Ice and Entertainment Center. Thanks to the determination of the Santa Clarita City Council and the passion of our residents, the city was able to acquire, rebrand and reopen the former Ice Station for all to enjoy.
This year, we also completed the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Golden Valley Road. The new station is a perfect example of the city’s commitment to public safety by providing local law enforcement with a much-needed upgrade after outgrowing their previous facility.
Another long-anticipated project that officially opened this year was the new Canyon Country Community Center. Located near the intersection of Sierra Highway and Soledad Canyon Road, the new community center is the centerpiece to the 9-acre site comprised of a playground, outdoor event space, public art, numerous classrooms, gymnasium, demonstration kitchen and many other amenities for residents and visitors alike.
Apart from our city’s new facility openings, I must also acknowledge the new innovative programming and engagement opportunities that we added to Santa Clarita this year in a wide variety of divisions. I saw families laugh and play at the grand opening of the Santa Clarita Public Library’s Trail Tales in Duane R. Harte Park. I saw residents take an active part in keeping our community beautiful by volunteering in the annual River Rally Cleanup. I saw the excitement on the faces of so many children, and even adults, from being able to safely resume youth sports activities. I also saw the positive response from residents when the city embraced its millennial age and joined TikTok. Challenges may arise, but City Council and staff continue to work hard to meet the needs and interests of our residents.
Did you know that the city of Santa Clarita has 35 parks? Opening 35 parks by our 35th anniversary in 2022 is an accomplishment that I’m sure we all will delight in. Our 35 parks offer scenic areas for relaxation, well-maintained fields for sports and recreation, connections to our extensive network of trails and popular events like Concerts in the Park (which returned earlier this year).
In addition to our parks, from the city’s inception in 1987 we have seen the expansion of public art, filming in Santa Clarita, open space preservation, job opportunities and much more. I have also been lucky to witness this growth as a resident of Santa Clarita over nearly the past decade.
In the years to come, residents can anticipate more exciting developments as outlined in our Santa Clarita 2025 Strategic Plan. Some of these efforts include upgrades to our existing parks, the introduction of a new Canyon Country Community Center event series celebrating diversity, and a new user-friendly city website.
Reflecting on all the city of Santa Clarita has accomplished in the past year and the decades prior, I am looking forward to our continued success. Happy birthday, Santa Clarita!
Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].