by City Manager Ken Striplin
Spring has sprung in Santa Clarita. And what a beautiful time of year it is. Thanks to the onslaught of rain we got in the last few months, our hillsides are blankets of fresh green spotted with wildflowers. The spring season has long been hailed as fresh and new – and here in Santa Clarita there are a lot of new and exciting things happening this month.
We are in the middle of year three of our five-year strategic plan - Santa Clarita 2020. This plan was designed to guide the City's major work efforts so that we can best prioritize resources, achieve milestones and maintain our unwavering commitment to offering the best services and facilities for Santa Clarita residents today and into the future. The plan includes six quality of life themes that serve as an umbrella for 64 action items and over a hundred million dollars.
The groundbreaking is set for this month to kick off the multi-million dollar project, which will widen the Newhall Ranch Road Bridge over the San Francisquito Creek from six to eight lanes, providing an additional lane in each direction. A raised median will also be installed in the center to help keep drivers within lanes. For those who would like to walk or ride over the bridge, there will be a new protected sidewalk and bike trail. This project supports the Santa Clarita 2020 theme of Building and Creating Community.
A celebration of the arts is coming to Old Town Newhall, as we officially recognize the transformation of the former Repertory East Playhouse to The MAIN, an acronym for Municipal Arts In Newhall. In step with the goals of the Arts Master Plan, this new arts hub on the revitalized Main Street is in the heart of the City’s Arts and Entertainment District. The lobby now functions as a versatile art gallery, bringing the City’s total art display spaces to eight. Although the location has been playing host to several Thursdays@Newhall events and was used as a performance space as part of the annual Cowboy Festival, there will be an official ribbon cutting next month to celebrate the new name and new look. This project falls under the category of Enhancing Economic Vitality – as does the entire revitalization of Old Town Newhall.
Under the Santa Clarita 2020 theme of Community Beautification, another landmark event happening this month is the annexation of a prominent piece of land. Valley Vista is a 241-acre property located at the top of the Newhall Pass between the 5 Freeway and State Route 14. Once planned for a major development, the land is now part of the City’s Open Space Preservation District and protected from development indefinitely. Thanks to our City Council, a partnership with The Trust for Public Land, as well as state, local and grant funding, we have officially safeguarded hundreds of acres of beautiful open space and a major wildlife corridor. To track the progress of all our Santa Clarita 2020 projects, please visit SantaClarita2020.com.
Along with these new projects we have also welcomed a new Police Chief. Captain Robert Lewis officially took over the Santa Clarita Valley station, bringing 31 years of law enforcement experience with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to his new post. Lewis began his law enforcement career right here in Santa Clarita as a Law Enforcement Intern and is thrilled to be working in the City he considers home.
With all these new developments, it is important that we also take a minute to honor and recognize the brave men and women who protect our way of life. The City Council launched our Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program last year and since then you are sure to have noticed the faces of our heroes displayed on these patriotic banners throughout the City. We believe that every hero should be recognized, and to accomplish this, sponsorships are available to help cover some of the costs for a banner. To qualify, honorees must be an active duty military member of the United States Armed Forces. For more information, please visit santa-clarita.com/Heroes.