Jan 08, 2019 08:03PM
Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva
As 2018 ended, Walnut Creek celebrated a changing of the guard on our city council as we thanked retiring councilmember Rich Carlston and welcomed new councilmember Matt Francois.
Celebrating Our Accomplishments
As we look to the future, I believe it’s important to reflect on our accomplishments.
- Roads:Recently, we invested new state transportation funds in long-overdue road rehabilitation work on Oak Grove Road. Going forward, we’ll use these funds for other critical projects, including Ygnacio Valley Road.
- Homeless services:One primary goal is to provide a realistic response to homelessness. With Trinity Center, which offers non-residential support services for the homeless, we are again providing the Winter Nights Shelter. Furthermore, our new, dedicated homeless services fund supports our homeless outreach team (in partnership with the county and City of Concord) and other homeless programs and services.
- Housing affordability:In recent years, California has faced an extreme housing affordability crisis – a crisis exacerbated by the state’s recent wildland fires. Recognizing this ongoing crisis, we’ve worked with housing builders and non-profit affordable housing groups to fund more than 330 units of low- and very-low income housing. And, 140 more units are underway.
- Pension funding:Facing increasing financial pressure from rising pension liabilities, we made a $14 million “down payment” in an irrevocable trust for future pension costs.
- Parks and recreation:Our parks and recreation programs are among the hallmarks of our quality of life. Summer 2018 was another banner year for the recently rebuilt Larkey Pool and splash playground. Like other community facilities built about 50 years ago, Larkey Pool was having significant maintenance problems and needed major renovation. Four other highly-used-but-aging community facilities are also in need of major renovation, so we’ve have initiated a two-year community project called Your Parks, Your Future to determine how to address these infrastructure needs.
- Local economy:We’ve enjoyed significant investment in the local economy, including the $250 million rebuilding of Broadway Plaza, the opening of The Orchards center, the refresh of Encina Grande and Rossmoor Shopping Center, and revitalization of the Shadelands Business Park. In December, we approved an updated economic development strategic plan that will help set the stage for new economic investment and more jobs over the next decade.
- Downtown parking:We continue to explore creative solutions for more downtown parking. We converted 1,500 metered spaces at the edges of downtown to long-term parking. We’re examining employee parking programs and testing attendant-assisted parking, which could increase garage capacity by 20 percent.
- Sustainability:To achieve our sustainability goals, we’ve joined Marin Clean Energy and “opted up” to 100 percent renewable electricity for city facilities, installed solar at Boundary Oak and Heather Farm and EV charging stations in city garages, and added solar-powered recycling/trash compactors downtown – to name a few!
- Community Service Day:In October, nearly 1,400 volunteers came out for the 8thAnnual Community Service Day.
Spotlight on the Community
Many of our accomplishments are a result of the efforts of community non-profits and volunteers – groups that make Walnut Creek a great community. In 2019, I want to spotlight these community groups and give the community a chance to learn more about what makes Walnut Creek so great. We’re calling the program 2ndSaturday Spotlight. Our first 2ndSaturday Spotlight is set for January 12, when we’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. For more information, visit www.walnut-creek.org.
I am honored to serve as Walnut Creek’s mayor for what will be a challenging and exciting year. I hope you’ll join us for 2ndSaturday Spotlight.