I’m pleased to announce we have accomplished several goals with the resolution of litigation regarding potential development at the City’s western gateway – Highway 46W and South Vine Street. The settlement will provide the opportunity to re-align Vine Street to create a safer intersection with the Highway, save the citizens of Paso Robles significant money in constructing the new intersection configuration, open the way for the development of two new tourism lodging businesses (including significant new meeting facilities) and create new revenues. Thanks to prudent planning, the City has adequate water supplies to support these projects. There is still a long way to go before it all comes together, but we’ve made significant progress. I want to thank all parties involved for making this possible.
We continue to work to enhance economic development within the City. The Council has approved a 13-lot commercial/industrial subdivision similar to the neighboring Golden Hills Business Park. The project will be dedicating land for a vital future street connection between Airport Road and Wisteria Lane to help Airport area employee and business traffic avoid HWY 46E in getting to the downtown.
Enhancing existing businesses and attracting new ones are critical issues for the City of Paso Robles. In the early 1990s we declared we would become the retail shopping hub of the North County. We have accomplished that. Now we must work to become the economic development hub. I will be meeting with local business leaders soon to create a task force to support and attract business. I will be drawing upon the best business talent we have to accomplish our economic development goal to create a balanced mix of employment to support our local economy.
The positive financial news continues. Our Municipal Investment Strategy has resulted in $150,000 in additional revenues over the past year. Furthermore, we have lowered the City’s parcel tax rate by a slight percentage. The tax rate is associated with a General Obligation bond issued in 1998 after voter approval. The bond enabled the construction of noteworthy public facilities, including the Public Safety Center, Airport Terminal, Veterans Center and Senior Center. The bond will be paid down in full by 2029.
Activity has begun which will provide additional rental apartments in the City. I have received numerous communications regarding the difficulty of locating affordable apartment space. The City Council has approved an expansion of the Alder Creek Apartment complex on the west side of Nicklaus Street. The project will create 16 new 2-bedroom units. Hopefully more projects such as this will be proposed soon.
In other matters, the Council has agreed to receive an update on the oil train issue sometime in September. About a year ago the Council considered safety issues associated with the proposed transport of volatile petroleum aboard long trains transiting the City. Since then several rail incidents around the country have increased concerns about this type of transport. I am in contact with Arlyne Burns, the Mayor of Mosier, Oregon, where such a train recently derailed. I want to get her first-hand experience as a Mayor regarding this issue.
City staff will soon update the Council on policies concerning traffic calming. It seems folks are split on this issue. Some are concerned that street-narrowing and speed bumps create a hazard. Others insist they want these and other measures to make traffic safer.
I want to thank our public service employees and the community as a whole for turning out for the recent Nationwide Night Out event in the downtown city park. With such unsettling community unrest in other cities around the nation we must keep Paso Robles the safe, family-friendly city it has always been. This kind of community activity, where residents and public safety come together, can help.
It’s been a wild, wet, splashy summer at the newly-reopened Centennial Pool. And the kids are all over the new playground in the downtown city park. Check ’em both out.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles.