It is a great honor to serve the residents of Santa Clarita as a member of the City Council. I am also humbled to be selected to serve as mayor for 2022 and work collaboratively to set the policies that benefit the residents of our city.
Over the past two years, the global community has faced unimaginable challenges and now is the time to come together to facilitate better understanding so that we can move forward into a healthier and brighter 2022. By working together, listening to one another and being accommodating, we can ensure that our collective path continues in a positive direction. This will have both mental and physical benefits for us all in the long run.
This year, there is much to look forward to in the city of Santa Clarita, starting with many projects that will enhance several of our local parks. Work is currently underway on the final phase of the Central Park buildout, which is expected to be complete by late summer. This highly anticipated project will add four sports fields, a restroom, more parking spaces, an exercise staircase with about 150 steps, and improvements to the Central Bark Dog Park.
The city has heard wonderful feedback from residents following the opening of the inclusive play area at Canyon Country Park in 2020, and progress is underway to construct a new inclusive play area at West Creek Park as well. City staff are also planning enhancements at David March Park, working to expand Canyon Country Park and looking for opportunities to add more parks to our system.
In addition, we are working toward bringing a second bike park to Santa Clarita, as well as the long-awaited outdoor roller rink. Staff is also studying the feasibility of an outdoor amphitheater and one project I hope to see in our community soon is a Saugus branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library.
These enhancements improve the quality of life for every resident in Santa Clarita, as do the acquisition and maintenance of the acres of open space surrounding our city. In 2022, we will continue to grow our trail connectivity within our nearly 12,000 acres of open space. This will not only allow for new recreational opportunities – it will also help preserve and protect the critical wildlife corridors and natural resources in our area and work toward the passage of the Rim of the Valley Preservation Act.
As mayor, I will also continue to stand passionately against any attempts to destroy what we love about life in Santa Clarita. I have done this for years as a City Council member in opposition to the proposed Cemex mega-mine in Soledad Canyon, and I also strongly oppose placing high-risk offenders at Camp Scott in Bouquet Canyon due to its location in an area prone to natural disasters that would make evacuating prisoners safely and efficiently nearly impossible.
A personal goal of mine is to protect the extensive historical sites in the Santa Clarita Valley, including the Pioneer Oil Refinery, Heritage Junction and Mentryville. Preserving and restoring these critical sites will ensure that we remain connected to our ancestors and that future generations will be able to explore the rich history our community was built upon.
These are just some of the many opportunities we look forward to in 2022. I look forward to working hard to bring them to fruition and continue the collaboration between the city, residents and local organizations to keep Santa Clarita one of the very best places to live in the nation. Together we can accomplish much.
Mayor Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].