Last week, Mayor Juli Costanzo hosted the city’s annual State of the City address at the Mission Playhouse lobby. The 30 minute event – which outlined some of the city’s accomplishments – focused on the City Council’s strategic plan, which outlines five main goals: building and improving the city’s infrastructure, generating economic development, engaging with the community, providing great customer service and developing resources through innovation and efficiency.
Build and improve
This past year, the city focused on five priorities to build and improve San Gabriel’s infrastructure. These goals included rehabilitating and preserving the city’s streets, completing the San Gabriel trench, refurbishing several parks, congestion relief and safety for motorists and the construction of a new police facility.
- The city has reconstructed or resurfaced 7.5 miles of pavement – the most miles ever completed in any year in recent history. Projects included the reconstruction of Mission Road and Del Mar Avenue, along with the ACE haul routes
- Trains have been relocated to the San Gabriel trench after several years of construction. Final work and landscaping is expected to be complete in early 2018
- Marshall Community Park, the city’s first new park in several decades, is expected to open very soon. The city is also focusing on improving Vincent Lugo Park with new picnic shelters and fitness equipment
- Work on the new police facility is also moving along, with the demolition of the old Public Works yard now underway
- The San Gabriel Boulevard and Mission Road intersection also received new turn lanes and signal lights, improving safety for motorists. Public Works also worked with the Los Angeles County Public Works department to synchronize traffic lights along San Gabriel Boulevard
Generating economic development
Business is a crucial element in San Gabriel’s development, and this past year, the city has expanded its economic outreach by developing new marketing materials in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. In addition, the city is also happy to welcome five new businesses to the community, including Nomad Ice Pops, OGOPOGO Brewing, Iceforest Rolled Ice Cream, Bonchon Fried Chicken and Jones Bicycles.
On top of these businesses, several developments will also open in the near future, including the Las Tunas Regency, the Sheraton Los Angeles/San Gabriel, the Hyatt Place and the Mission View Plaza.
Engaging with the community
The city aims to make San Gabriel an inviting place to live, work and shop through special events, new recreation activities and ordinances that help maintain the San Gabriel’s unique characteristics.
This past year, the city has:
- Held several innovative events, including Dumpling & Beer Fest, Cinco de Mayo, Lunar New Year, Fall Fun Festival and Surf’s Up San Gabriel. The city also held a summer-long series known as the Summer Nights program, along with annual traditions like the Turkey Trot and the Holiday Tree Lighting
- Expanded its Engage! program through the Mission Playhouse, which presented “The Latin Wave” series along with several cultural events and the popular Silent Sundays series
- Expanded its recreation offerings, including pickleball, table tennis, and arts workshops
- Strengthened its preservation efforts with a new historic preservation and cultural resource ordinance along with new development standards to help curb mansionization
Customer service is a key component of the strategic plan, and this year, the city has embarked on several initiatives to improve the quality of service offered to residents.
Some initiatives this year include:
- A new outreach survey to understand how residents feel about the city. Generally, residents think San Gabriel is a good place to live with high satisfaction of the city’s fire protection, prevention and emergency medical services
- A new digital records system that will allow residents, contractors and property owners to track their projects online instead of traveling to City Hall
- A reorganization of the fire department, including the appointment of Fire Chief Derrick Doehler, three promoted Division Chiefs and Captains, and a new arson team
- New community policing initiatives, including outreach to local schools and a new mental health program
The city strives to ensure that it spends tax dollars wisely and prudently by seeking grants whenever possible, and increasing efficiency across the organization.
Currently, the city’s total proposed revenue will be $55,355,395 with expenditures of $54,760,323. Of that, $47,948,520 is dedicated to the city’s operating budget, and $8,811,803 is dedicated to capital improvement projects.
When it comes to grants, the Mission Playhouse has received $15,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts and $25,000 from the Ralph M. Parsons foundation to help restore its façade. The city also secured $4.6 million for the development of Marshall Community Park from the Proposition 84 Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization program.
If you missed this year's State of the City address, you may watch a video of the entire presentation below:
- 00:00 - Introductions
- 10:44 - Building and improving the city's infrastructure
- 16:40 - Generating economic deelopment in the city
- 20:15 - Engaging with the community
- 25:00 - Improving the city's customer service
- 28:05 - Developing resources