City Council to discuss SCV digital history archive improvements

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council is slated to discuss Tuesday evening a possible $300,000 grant that will be used, along with matching funds from a national endowment, to improve the largest archive specific to local history,  

The grant, according to a discussion item listed on Tuesday’s meeting agenda, would allow the nonprofit operator of — the city’s public television channel, SCVTV — to update the site’s entire web platform, with future plans to upgrading and, which are linked to the historical archive through video and other multimedia content.  

According to a letter sent by President Leon Worden, the outdated programing language for the site has been used since it first began in 1996 and has grown over the last 26 years from a few dozen historic photographs to close to 100,000 archival items in various digital formats.  

“It serves as a repository for historic artifacts, books, film, photography, documents, and oral histories of significance to the Santa Clarita Valley, documenting events such as the St. Francis Dam Disaster, the earliest gold discovery and oil production in California, and the beginning of the film industry,” the agenda packet reads. “Groups that frequently visit the website range from the general public to academic researchers, filmmakers, educators and public agencies.” 

City officials said the site was able to amass approximately 2 million views in 2021, despite the facts that the hand-coded HTML architecture for the site creates difficulties for its operators attempting to make changes and results in a non-user-friendly experience for visitors.    

In order to gain the funds it seeks, SCVTV is seeking a contribution of $300,000 to help fund the project and leverage additional grant funds through the National Endowment of the Humanities.  

Upon completion of the upgrades, SCVTV plans to hand ownership of to the Santa Clarita Public Library, according to the meeting agenda, and to allow government staff to take over the site’s management and curation, as opposed to keeping the responsibility with Worden and his team.  

“The migration of must be performed as soon as possible,” Worden said in his letter to the City Council. “As a community, we cannot allow the preservation and accessibility of our history to continue to be intertwined with the life expectancy of one individual.” 

“ plays an important role in fostering civic pride by making the public aware that Santa Clarita is a special place, worthy of their engagement and participation,” Worden adds. “It is our hope that will outlive us all.” 

The regular meeting for the Santa Clarita City Council is expected to begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and take place in the City Council Chambers located at 23920 Valencia Blvd. For more information about the meeting agenda, visit 

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