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1860 - Colonel Thomas F. Mitchell arrives in Soledad Canyon [story]


Guest Commentary by City Manager Ken Striplin
| Saturday, Dec 1, 2012

Ken Striplin

It is my honor to have been named city manager for the City of Santa Clarita, effective Dec. 1.

As a long-time Santa Clarita resident, 17-year city employee and father of three (soon to be four), I am excited about what is happening in our city.  Santa Clarita is a great place to live, work and play, and as the “keepers of the good life,” your City Council and city staff will continue to work hard to maintain a safe, clean, healthy and strong city for our families and for future generations.

Since cityhood, we’ve made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life for our residents, fostering a supportive business climate, ensuring financial stability, and building community.  Achievements such as 23 beautifully appointed parks, 60 miles of off-street trails and paseos, three Metrolink stations, more than 7,000 acres of preserved open space (with more to come), a transit system, recycling programs, two new libraries, an excellent public safety program, AAA bond rating, and a balanced, on-time budget with healthy reserves are but a few of the successes that set our city apart.

My goals as your city manager are to continue this tradition of a high quality of life, assuring that our city remains the best place to raise a family, open a business and enjoy an unparalleled quality of life.

Despite the impacts of the Great Recession, our city, under the leadership of our City Council, has seen positive changes including an unemployment rate consistently lower than the state and national rates, and a healthy increase in sales tax revenues.

At City Hall, we have successfully kept service levels high.  The City Council’s philosophy of a conservative approach to budgeting and financial management has paid dividends and allowed our city to continue its legacy of excellence.

This year’s annual budget includes a $46.6 million capital improvement program and features projects in a range of areas across the city.  This substantial increase results from Santa Clarita successfully securing $14 million in grant funding, which enables our city to design and build important projects for the community.

In Canyon Country, we are spending $15 million this fiscal year on major projects and programs to enhance this area of our city, which will include a new Community Center.  In Saugus, we are adding two new sports fields to increase field space at Central Park.

Five major road and bridge infrastructure projects are slated to be completed over the next few years in the city.  In Canyon Country, the city will begin construction on the widening of the Golden Valley Bridge over the 14 Freeway.  The expansion project will make it a safer, six-lane road with new sidewalks and a shared bike path.  This will greatly enhance freeway access in that area. This project is expected to begin next summer.  The city is currently in the environmental stage for a road extension linking Via Princessa to Golden Valley, another way we will improve traffic circulation.

Design for a roundabout in Old Town Newhall is also underway with landscaping, a central art component and a monument entrance to Main Street. This will allow for better traffic flow at the intersections of 5th Street, Newhall Avenue and Main Street.

One of the ways the city is helping to improve traffic circulation this year is through the construction of a new park-and-ride facility at the McBean Transfer Station.  This project will increase regional transportation options for community members, reduce traffic and help improve air quality.

The City Council has allocated $6.9 million to fund overlay improvements, which help keep our streets safe and smooth.

Keeping Santa Clarita beautiful is a full-time job, and one that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also increases local property values.  This year, the city will be working on beautification projects that include drought-tolerant landscape and decorative hardscape.

There is a variety of upcoming beautification projects happening throughout Santa Clarita, including raised landscaped medians along Newhall Avenue to Sierra Highway, which is in design this year with construction planned for next year; landscape, hardscape and curbs on Golden Valley Road from Centre Pointe Parkway to Robert C. Lee Parkway; new landscaped medians on Sierra Highway between Friendly Valley Parkway and Via Princessa;  major landscape and hardscape enhancements to the on and off ramps at Sand Canyon off the 14 Freeway.

I am looking forward to serving as your City Manager and seeing these projects enhance our community.  Public service is an honor and one that all of us at the city will continue to provide at a high level.  We value your comments and questions.   I may be reached via email at kstriplin@santa-clarita.com.

 

Ken Striplin is city manager of the city of Santa Clarita.

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