February 14th, 2017 by Monrovia Weekly
Construction has begun on the city-wide $51.7 million infrastructure improvement project, the largest public works project we have ever undertaken here at the City.
The following is the outline of Mayor Tom Adams’ State of the City speech held at the Krikrorian Theatre on Myrtle Avenue last night.
Mayor Tom Adams: Welcome / Intro
I would like to welcome everyone to the 2017 State of the City of Monrovia!
Before we begin with our formal program, I want to thank all of our community partners who made this evening possible.
Tonight, our State of the City Address will continue with the tradition that we instituted last year, whereby all five members of the City Council will provide our annual update to the community regarding where we currently are at here in Monrovia.
I think that it is just so important for all members of the City Council to participate in the State of the City Address, because in our united efforts to make Monrovia great again, we truly are stronger together.
And that, I think, is what I’m the most proud of from this past year. That the City Council has been working together. And together, we have been able to develop and execute an overall Citywide plan that has been geared towards “renewing” our terrific community.
Now, you may be wondering what I mean by renewal. Well tonight, the entire City Council will share with you how we’ve been hard at work together to ensure that Monrovia remains the brightest gem in the crown that is the San Gabriel Valley.
You will hear from each member of the City Council as we highlight our efforts at renewing community infrastructure, from finalizing the opening of our HWP access points, to completing Station Square and our Gold Line Station, from approving new regulations to addressing neighborhood compatibility and historic preservation concerns, to beginning work on the restoration of the Historic Santa Fe Depot.
We’ll take time to discuss our renewed efforts to ensure Fiscal Sustainability by being prudent in our budgetary practices, while also adopting an aggressive new economic development approach.
From a balanced budget, to implementation of a new reserve policy, to establishment of new an audit committee, from the results that our new economic development approach has achieved, to the establishment of Monrovia as a community that supports an overall biotech / science ecosystem; all of which have helped to enhance our quality of life, as we’ve seen thoughtful new development projects in town, including the Fifth / Huntington, MODA at Station Square, our new BMW Dealership, OSH, and a thriving Old Town Monrovia.
You’ll also hear about our efforts to renew relationships with the community, from the re-institution of the Monrovia Days event, to building stronger ties with the School District, MAD Town Council, and the Chamber of Commerce, from the 10 year anniversary of the MAP Program, to the new Achieving Community Trust program initiated by our Police Department, from improved communication mechanisms with the community, to establishing numerous community oversight groups to ensure that we are performing for you.
In fact, we’ve been so committed to this concept of Renewal that we named our primary infrastructure improvement project after the concept, which we’ve called Monrovia Renewal.
Construction has begun on the Citywide $51.7 million infrastructure improvement project, the largest public works project we have ever undertaken here at the City.
During the next several years, we’ll be working to make priority infrastructure repairs to all of our water, sewer, sidewalk, and street infrastructure here in town.
We’re currently working in the area bordered to the north by Colorado Blvd, and to the south by the I-210 Freeway, and we are committed to finishing all of our repairs during the next 3-4 years.
Along the way, we’ve also instituted several important associated capital improvements in town, such as the Huntington Drive median landscaping project, which should be completed in the next few weeks.
When we get done with Monrovia Renewal, we’ll have upgraded every street that is rated at 70 or below on the PCI index, we’ll have installed thousands of feet of new sewer lines and water lines, we’ll have built a new reservoir and installed new a new water well to ensure reliable water service, and we will have fixed every single sidewalk trip-hazard issue in town.
Like I mentioned earlier, I truly believe that none of the renewal that is occurring in Monrovia would be possible if not for the fact that the entire City Council has been working so hard and so well… together.
To share additional ways regarding how we’ve worked together I’m so excited to be able to introduce to everyone Mayor Pro Tem Alex Blackburn. Alex will be spending time discussing how we’ve been working to Renew Monrovia with the development of multiple fresh and new perspectives here in town… will everyone give it up for Alex Blackburn!
Mayor Pro Tem Alex Blackburn: Renewing Monrovia with Fresh and New Perspectives
Thank you Tom, I appreciate the introduction, and good evening Monrovia! It has been a privilege for me to serve as your Mayor Pro Tem during this past year, and I appreciate the trust that the community has placed in me and the rest of the City Council to guide the renewal of our community.
Tom mentioned that I was going to be discussing how we’ve been working to incorporate fresh and new perspectives here in town, and you may be wondering what that means.
During the past few years, we have very consciously and deliberately instituted a new economic development strategy that has been geared towards attracting new high-end employers to Monrovia, while also working to develop a biotechnology and science based local economic ecosystem.
While there remains much work to be done moving forward, the strategy we deployed has been, by every measure and all accounts, tremendously successful.
In the past 18 months, Monrovia has seen the addition of nearly 300,000 square feet of new office users, who have brought with them more than 1,900 professional jobs to town.
On the biotechnology and science front, new users that are moving to Monrovia include: Beckman Research Institute – 140,000 square feet – 600 jobs; Aerovironment – 35,000 square feet – 250 jobs; City of Hope – 20,000 square feet – 150 jobs; Oak Crest Institute of Science – 10,000 square feet – 45 jobs
Other significant new office users that have moved into Monrovia include: Southern California News Group – 33,000 square feet – 200 jobs; Cacique – 28,000 square feet – 250 jobs; Yang Ming Shipping – 25,000 square feet – 150 jobs; Worley Parsons – consolidated in Monrovia – 300+ jobs
In the midst of this renaissance of new high-end office users that have moved to Monrovia, we’ve also been working to establish a comprehensive biotechnology and science ecosystem in Monrovia
If you recall, last year, we shared that LabLaunch Monrovia opened in our town, which currently serves as only the second biotech / science incubator in the entire San Gabriel Valley.
As we have continued to grow our local biotech and science economy, we are really excited to be able to share that we’ve partnered with another new biotech operation that just opened their doors in Monrovia in 2016 – Oak Crest Institute of Science.
Oak Crest is a non-profit entity that engages in innovative research to make advances in our understanding of environmental and medical science through rigorous academic laboratory programs.
The firm is doing some incredibly high-end research and development work right here in Monrovia out of their new 10,000 sq. ft. office on Chestnut.
Their team of 45 full-time, part-time, and internship staff has had their ground-breaking work published in some of the most prestigious scientific and medical journals in the world, and their team is performing some of the most advanced biotech and medical research on the planet.
In fact, the team at Oak Crest recently had their findings published which confirm that an intravaginal ring device that they developed can provide complete protection against the HIV virus!
For us here in Monrovia, what is even more exciting than the work that Oak Crest is doing is the commitment that the executives at Oak Crest have made to the community.
In addition to being located here in town, the non-profit firm has committed to helping the City develop a stronger local biotech and science presence.
That commitment includes working with the City to develop an additional biotech incubator operation, as well as working to establish local programs for our youth to illustrate how a career in science can help change the world.
We are looking forward to expanding the partnership with Oak Crest during this next year to develop a comprehensive local ecosystem that supports the biotech and science industry in Monrovia.
The establishment of these new corporate entities in Monrovia have spurred new perspectives, and with those new perspectives come new opportunities for our community.
Last June, BMW completed their 208k sq. ft. expansion project, while OSH opened their doors last July.
In addition, the City is working on finalizing plans to upgrade the former Albertson’s Shopping Center, which will be renewed with a host of new shopping options, including an Aldi’s grocery store, a revamped Michael’s facility, and a new TJ Maxx / Homegoods store.
These new opportunities, have also spilled over into our thriving Old Town, where we welcomed the opening of several new establishments this past year: Bottega by Bella Serra, Myrtle Tree Café, 1776, Diplomat, Oke Poke, Mooyah Burgers, Cat’s Quilting Corner, Seasoning Alley, Sharkie Poke
It’s not just the business and retail portions of our community that are being renewed, as development interests have approached the City regarding the establishment of new housing opportunities in town.
As you may know, we currently have two housing projects under construction.
The Fifth / Huntington housing project is a 154 unit luxury apartment project being developed by Fairfield Residential. Located at the intersection of the Fifth Avenue / Huntington Drive, the project is now under construction, with leasing activities expected to begin in 2018.
Also, you may recall that the MODA at Monrovia Station housing project is currently under construction. When complete, the project will add 261-units of Class-A luxury apartments as another housing option for consideration, all located right in the heart of our Transit Village at Station Square. The project is being constructed by Legacy Partners, and the first phase of the project is anticipated to begin leasing in early 2018
As we push forward into 2017, the City also expects that several other housing projects will likely be proposed for further consideration.
One last item that I wanted to talk about tonight involves the fact that as we add all of these new businesses and people and perspectives to our community, we need to also focus on enhancing our emergency preparedness operations.
This is a bit of a personal mission for me, as I saw how ill-prepared we were for the impacts from the 2011 wind storms.
If you recall, when the wind storms hit, thousands of people lost power and the damage that was caused was far reaching. People were without power for days, and it highlighted for me a need for all of us to be better prepared for emergencies.
I’m so pleased that in 2016, as we have worked to renew our community, that we have also spent time to enhance our overall emergency preparedness operations.
The City reinstituted this past year the coordination of table-top emergency preparedness exercises that involves all City departments and other key stakeholders so that we can train on how the City will respond in the event of a disaster.
We’ve also spent time and energy implementing a smart new technology called Veocci to better streamline our emergency preparedness response operations.
Additionally, the City leveraged some of our existing partnerships to develop a special discount pricing program so that our residents can purchase disaster preparedness supplies and emergency generators at a discounted price.
The Fire Department has also reengaged in several new emergency preparedness activities, such as reinstituting Emergency Preparedness Week activities, and more significantly, reinstituting our Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT program.
CERT had been dormant for years, however we were able to reestablish the program and our CERT volunteers were activated multiple times to assist the community during 2016.
In addition, we launched our CERT training programs again this past year, and I am excited to share that we will have our 100th CERT Team Member graduate from the program this year!
Through the process of renewal, we’ve certainly been able to incorporate fresh new perspectives!
Council Member Gloria Crudgington: Protecting and Preserving Monrovia … Together
One of the primary reasons I decided to run for City Council was my passion for historic preservation, and what I perceived as the City’s lack of focus on such an important element of our community, one that truly sets us apart from other places in the San Gabriel Valley.
This past year, I’ve been delighted with the progress that we have made in implementing new neighborhood compatibility and historic preservation standards.
In thinking back on the work we’ve done this past year… do you remember the house that started it all?
122 North Alta Vista… that McMansion which was so out of character with the rest of the street.
We could have approached the issue a number of different ways, and throughout the San Gabriel Valley, we’ve seen the issue of mansionization really divide communities.
But here in Monrovia, I’m very proud that instead of fighting, we decided that we needed to simply renew our approach to development in our neighborhoods.
So finally, after nearly two years of outreach and study and analysis… we were able to adopt new development standards here in Monrovia that I believe are truly cutting edge in how we balanced the need for growth with the absolute commitment to ensuring growth does not fundamentally alter the nature of our town.
Our new development standards fall into two separate categories.
First, we adopted a new Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance that outlines new residential development standards, including revised setback requirements, updated house size limits, and new standards related to building height and garage placement. Significantly, our new ordinance provides the City with a Compatibility Design Review process to help ensure that new construction and development in each neighborhood blends with the character of the specific street on which the project is proposed.
In addition, the City also adopted new historic preservation practices through the establishment of a revised Demolition Ordinance. This new regulation has an explicit requirement that any house which is 50 years old or older MUST go through a comprehensive review process before it can be torn down.
Combined, these new standards form a comprehensive set of development guidelines that will help ensure that the architectural heritage which makes Monrovia so unique and charming will be preserved for future generations, while simultaneously allowing for careful growth and development as we push forward into the future. And at this time I would like to express my sincere gratitude to our wonderful City staff, and my very special appreciation to my Council Colleagues who came together as a team to adopt these important ordinances.
I also wanted to spend some time tonight reviewing some of the other historic preservation activities we engaged in this past year.
And perhaps the best place to start is… our Historic Santa Fe Depot!
You may have been with us last week when we held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of restoring our Historic Santa Fe Depot back to its former glory!
The repair and restoration of the Depot is a major milestone for our community, as the facility is arguably Monrovia’s most iconic and historic structure.
We want to thank the Historic Preservation Commission, our development partners at Daylight Limited, LLC, and all of those that worked so hard to make the restoration of the Depot possible!
Regarding the Depot… I wanted to also mention that this past year the Depot became the City’s 137th Historic Landmark!
That was a terrific outcome, as the Historic Preservation Commission agreed that the Depot should be designated as a landmark to ensure that the building is protected for future generations!
And speaking of landmarks…
Last year, we proudly landmarked 3 structures in Monrovia! Those buildings included:
177 Acacia, built in 1927, is a beautifully maintained Spanish revival home with original interior and exterior features. This home exemplifies true Spanish revival architecture and features in its design.
126 Poppy, built in 1913 is a Classic California Craftsman. This home also exemplifies its architectural style – with its large overhanging eaves, decorative knee braces, and original wood trimmed windows and doors.
We also landmarked a commercial property, located at 805 South Shamrock Avenue.
This is 1 of only 3 commercial properties that are landmarked, and only one of three remaining commercial buildings along the South Shamrock commercial corridor that was once a portion of the original Route 66.
With its history dating back to the early 1920s, and its location along the historic Route 66, this building has seen the history of the City of Monrovia take shape over decades!
First serving as a fruit stand, then as an automobile gas and service station attending to travelers on the historic route, this historic structure, is now a landmark.
One last note about our efforts to advance and renew our historic preservation efforts during this past year…
We currently have one historic district in Monrovia, the Wild Rose Historic District.
I’ve been promised by everyone at the City that our second Historic District will be… on Encinitas Avenue!
The Encinitas Historic District is currently being finalized, and to celebrate the occasion, this year’s entire 35th Annual Historic Homes Tour coordinated by MOHPG will be on Encinitas!
I need to thank all of the residents living on Encinitas who have worked so hard to realize their dream of designating their street. So please join us on May 7th to help celebrate their success.
And as we push into 2017, please know that we will not be forgetting about our historic preservation initiatives! In fact, we’re looking to expand our efforts, as the City is in the process of preparing a community-wide Historic Context Statement. When complete, the context statement report will provide a new baseline criteria for evaluating the historical significance and integrity of all structures in Monrovia. More to come on this in the near future!
As we have gone about renewing Monrovia, a final item I want to touch on tonight is an issue that took the City nearly 2 decades to resolve! And that issue would be… finally resolving access into the City’s Hillside Wilderness Preserve!
Before I was a City Council Member, I was an activist in the community involved with preserving our hillsides from housing development.
Hundreds of Monrovians showed up at Planning Commission and City Council meetings in the late 1990s to protest hillside development. City Council decided to put the issue to a vote, and my husband Cleve and I volunteered to run the campaign to preserve our hillsides. That work culminated in July of 2000 when Monrovia voters overwhelmingly approved Measures A and B to allow the City to eventually acquire over 1,400 acres of pristine hillside property.
I had initially thought that getting Measure A and B approved would be the hardest part of the entire process… but in reality, the work that has occurred during the past 17 years proved to be even more challenging.
For a variety of reasons, over the past 17 years the City was never able to fulfill its promises to allow for passive recreation into the Hillside Wilderness Preserve, and our residents did not have the ability to formally access the preserve that they had bought and paid for.
However, through a series of decisions that were made during this past year, I am delighted to be able to share that today… the Hillside Wilderness Preserve is open for resident access and passive recreation!
To accomplish this feat, we took steps here at the City to establish an ultimate framework that took into account and alleviated concerns that were raised by residents regarding the HWP. This effort was skillfully led by our wonderful City Manager, Oliver Chi.
Today, our Hillside Wilderness Preserve is now more accessible than ever and our community – and future generations – can enjoy what is truly one of the crown jewels of the San Gabriel Valley.
There’s no doubt that as we’ve been working to renew Monrovia, we have been doing so in a way that recognizes and builds on the history of our community.
Council Member Becky Shevlin: Coming Together as a Community
One of the ways that we have worked to come together more as a community is to work more closely with other governing bodies in the City.
For instance, one of the groups that we have been meeting with regularly in 2016 is the Monrovia Arcadia Duarte Town Council. The MAD Town Council which represents the unincorporated areas of Monrovia, Arcadia, and Duarte that border our City.
The folks that live in the unincorporated areas are certainly part of our community, and together, we have worked with the MAD Town Council to address a number of issues of mutual concern such as:
Addressing concerns related to the Monrovia Renewal infrastructure project; coordinating involvement in our Monrovia Area Partnership Neighborhood programs; discussing traffic related issues that have developed from the opening of the Gold Line; and collaborating on the development of community events, such as the inaugural summer concert series at Station Square Park this past summer.
Truly, our partnership with the MAD Town Council is stronger today than it has ever been.
We have during this past year also spent significant time working with the Monrovia Unified School District, and we have partnered with MUSD on, or they have been a participant in, a number of key initiatives such as —
The City and School District have jointly worked to fund the implementation of a School Resources Officer Program that builds connections between our law enforcement and our youth, a program that has received rave reviews and has made a lasting impact on our kids.
We have heard so many stories about how kids have developed a strong connection to our School Resources Officer James Ruano, including instances where they have sought the Officer Ruano out for help during times of hardship.
We have also worked with the School District this past year to make traffic and infrastructure improvements at Santa Fe Middle School, and have worked together to coordinate signature community events, including the Monrovia Day parade and celebration, the 4th of July fireworks spectacular, and Christmas Holiday Parade; not to mention ongoing relationships that are fostered through monthly meetings with the leadership of the City, MUSD and Monrovia Chamber.
As we have worked to renew our relationships with different institutions here in the community, we have also established stronger bonds between the broader community as well.
These efforts have been incorporated into the enhanced programming that the City has implemented, and this evening I would like to share with you some of our successes from this past year.
In September, a new operator for our Friday Night Family Street Fair was selected. The firm, Raw Inspirations, implemented a number of enhancements to our Street Fair including an expanded farmers market selling a variety of fresh produce; new vendors and artisan crafts; implementation of a special Kids Night every first Friday of each month geared towards providing events for the youth; and of course, everyone knows that Monrovia now has a resident camel, right?!?!
In addition to enhancing the Street Fair, this past year, the City also established an expanded and improved Summer Concert Series. We featured 18 free concerts throughout the summer months in both Library Park and at our new staging in Station Square, including 4 concerts developed in partnership with the MAD Town Council, and 6 concerts that the City produced with Levitt Pavilion which as you may know, is well known throughout the Los Angeles region for organizing high caliber entertainment featuring an array of music genres. We are so grateful to have been able to partner with Levitt Pavilion to bring expanded entertainment to Monrovia.
Our Public Library has also capitalized on the new Station Square facilities this past year and reached new audiences with several special events in this exciting new and versatile venue.
Outside of new special events, the City also worked to develop improved mechanism to share information with the public regarding the initiatives that we are working on.
We established a quarterly capital improvement program and grant fund update for the City Council and the public.
Now, on a quarterly basis, staff provides the City Council and the public with a comprehensive update of every single grant that the City has obtained, along with a status update of our efforts to execute Capital Improvement Projects in town.
In addition, we have continued to establish committees for key initiatives and projects, including the Monrovia Renewal Community Advisory Committee, whose role it is to monitor the progress of our Monrovia Renewal infrastructure improvement project. You can also subscribe online to receive Monrovia Renewal Updates right into your personal email inbox.
We have worked hard this past year to develop other improved outreach mechanisms to keep the public informed about what we are doing. To that end, we have been using online and social media related communications tools, which we have found to be tremendously effective.
For instance, do you all remember last summer’s San Gabriel Complex Fire? During that emergency event, we had to contemplate mandatory evacuations given the fire danger. Our team at the City worked around the clock to provide the most up to date news and information related to the fire through our Nixle emergency alert system and social media outlets. Fortunately, we did not have to issue any evacuation notices, however, we received terrific feedback from the community that our outreach and information distribution efforts were tremendously effective, and in fact, we had residents who lived in neighboring jurisdictions tell us that they started using our website as their main source of information during the fire event!
We have also enhanced our use of Facebook and Twitter to distribute information regarding programs at the City this past year, and we have daily updates about a variety of events being coordinated by the City.
It is important to share however that even though we have expanded our use of social media outlets, we have not abandoned our more traditional communication mechanisms, and we have in fact, worked to improve efforts related to our quarterly mailer called the Monrovia Today by providing improved cover photos, a reformatted layout and content, and the inclusion of additional information from other groups in town, including the School District.
We also continue to build and participate along with numerous Community groups which you will hear more about from Councilman Spicer.
Finally, one other critical area where we have worked to improve our outreach efforts is our weekly City Manager’s Update. It’s an email newsletter posted to the website weekly, and to those who have subscribed, sent via email directly to your personal inbox. This weekly update is packed with extremely relevant and important community information. If you’re not a subscriber now, I would encourage you to sign up and join the nearly 800 other individuals in town who are already participating! It is very easy – click on City Manager’s Update under Key Links on the left hand side of the face page; you will be taken directly to the update as well as prior updates as well.
Certainly as we’ve worked to bring the community together during this past year, the City Council has been able to achieve a high degree of renewal in Monrovia!
Council Member Larry Spicer: Monrovia Is About People
Because as I have been listening to each member of the City Council speak tonight about the renewal that has occurred in Monrovia during this past year, I keep thinking about the fact that here in our community, our focus on people is what sets us apart from all those other cities in the San Gabriel Valley.
And if there’s one program that exemplifies that Monrovia is about people, it would have to be our Monrovia Area Partnership program, or MAP.
Many of you might know that my involvement with the City actually started through the MAP program. I’m a proud MAP Leader who graduated from the MAP Leadership Academy, and I think the City just does a tremendous job of engaging our people and listening to their hopes and dreams for our community.
Over time, the MAP program has continued to endure and grow. I’m so proud to be able to announce that this last year, MAP celebrated its 10-year anniversary, and over 400 people and community partners helped us celebrate the accomplishments of the past decade with a good old fashioned hot dog birthday party!
And there was really so much for us to celebrate. Because in our 10th year, the MAP program continued to expand and grow, and we added on several new programs.
One of key new programs that was activated this past year was our Care for Your Neighbor Program, which assigns MAP Neighborhood Leaders and volunteers the responsibility of helping to clean-up properties where the homeowners need help.
In 2016, we assisted the property owners of 222 E. Cypress Ave. and 345 Genoa St. beautify their properties and bring them into compliance with our existing codes.
And outside of new programing, MAP continued to host terrific events throughout the year. The MAP-Ed quarterly meetings are must attend events where information about important issues are discussed quarterly.
We also expanded participation in the MAP Leadership Academy and MAP Youth Leadership Academy, and 2016 saw our largest classes to date with both these programs! We ultimately had 18 Leadership Program graduates and 27 Youth Leadership Program graduates.
One last item that I’d like to share about our MAP program is related to our upcoming MAP Neighborhood Conference.
We develop and host this program annually, and our focus this year is related to developing healthy neighborhoods.
Last year, we had over 250 residents and friends participate in the event, and we hope that you’ll join us for this year’s conference, which has been built around the theme of ‘Building Better…”
As we’ve worked side by side with the community, we have also taken proactive steps to try and improve our law enforcement operations. There has been a wave of anti-law enforcement sentiment sweeping throughout the Country, however, here in Monrovia, we have taken strides to ensure that we do policing work differently. We really do listen to the people here in Monrovia, and one of the ways that we have accomplished that task is through our Achieving Community Trust, or ACT, program.
The program was developed because of the need to build trust between our law enforcement personnel and our community
The ACT program has 3 main components, which include Outreach, Education, and Training.
The program starts with our police officers reaching out and meeting with members of the community, especially those that have shared that they have a distrust of law enforcement. When we meet in an ACT meeting, we try to have tremendously honest conversations regarding why the perceptions exist, and to share personal stories about why our police officers chose to join the law enforcement profession. We had constructive dialogue with over 200 people from the community last year through our ACT program, and we look forward to increasing that number next year.
Through the education component of ACT, and in partnership with the School District, we have the School Resource Officer, or SRO, program.
Through this Program, we have assigned one police officer that is devoted strictly to working with our youth. One of the items that the SRO program added this past year was a virtual training program for our youth that allows students to experience the role of serving as a Police Officer, which helped provide our students with a different and important perspective regarding law enforcement.
Finally, the last component of the ACT program is related to enhanced training opportunities for our officers. We have been working to develop a virtual reality training tool for all of our police officers that help shape verbal de-escalation skills and community interface skills.
This virtual reality training program places the officer into a virtual conversation with someone who is angry, and the officer must then successfully navigate the process of resolving the situation without the use of force. This new training makes for very lifelike and realistic verbal confrontation, and allows the Officer to practice different law enforcement communication tactics.
The program has been so incredibly well received, and in fact, we recently won a $200,000 dollar grant from the State to further advance and develop our ACT program! We were one of only ten agencies in the entire State to win the grant money, and through the grant award, we have been able to expand our ACT outreach and classes taught by the SRO to at-risk youth in our region through a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills.
In addition to the ACT program, the City has also been working to renew relationships with a number of our local partners. That’s one of the things that makes Monrovia such an amazing community – all of the different groups that all come together to focus on serving people. Some of those existing partners include:
The Monrovia Duarte Black Alumni Association,Healing Connections, Monrovia Kiwanis Club, The Santa Anita Family YMCA, The Monrovia Community Coordinating Council, Monrovia Reads, The Library Foundation, The San Gabriel Valley Volunteer Center, The Foothill Unity Center, and The Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills.
Thank you to all of our partners that help to make Monrovia such a special place!
Outside of those existing groups, we have also worked this past year to develop new relationships with our veterans groups!
As a fellow Veteran, I am proud to serve as the City’s ambassador for Veteran’s Affairs – as giving back to our Veterans is something I am so passionate about.
Late last year, we had a soft opening for our new Veteran’s Resource Center at our Library.
The program has been designed to reintegrate veterans into the workforce, and to educate them about the multitude of resources and benefits available to them. We are especially proud that our Veteran’s Resource Center is the only one in the San Gabriel Valley. At the Center, Veterans can receive personal assistance by a CalVet trained volunteer to help connect them to the resources and benefits they are entitled to.
There is so much we are doing right now in Monrovia, and I think that by remembering and focusing on people, we will be able to achieve a complete renewal of our community.
And with that, I’d like to turn it back over to Mayor Adams.
Mayor Tom Adams: Renewal Has Started, but More Remains to Be Done
Thanks so much Larry, and many thanks to everyone on the City Council for your comments tonight, and for your tremendous efforts during this past year.
We’ve together been able to achieve so much for Monrovia, and I believe that we are in such a better place as a community today than we were just 12 months ago.
However, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t on occasion fallen short, and there are certainly things that we can do a better job of moving forward.
For instance, the Historic Depot rehabilitation project could have been executed more quickly. We had initially committed to beginning the restoration work in the Fall of 2016, however, we have only just broken ground on the project here in the last few weeks.
Also, we recognize that we can do a better job here at the City of streamlining and better facilitating our building permit and plan check processes. We have been using some antiquated systems and processes, but we are working to install the new tools necessary to improve our internal processes.
We also have public safety issues and development related matters that we need to address here in Monrovia.
But even though we have fallen short on occasion, and certainly everything did not go perfectly during the past year… I think it would be safe to say that 2016 was a huge success for Monrovia. We accomplished so much, and we have so much more that we are working on to create a community that offers a premier quality of life.
And I suppose that is what I am most encouraged by as we move forward into 2017 is the fact that our entire City Council is working together so well. Because we don’t spend our time fighting each other. And we don’t care about the spotlight or the prestige or the blame. All we care about as a group is that we get terrific things done for Monrovia.
Truly, the City Council right now is living that message which the legendary coach John Wooden preached… It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.
Thank you all for your support during 2016, it was a remarkable year, and as we move forward into 2017, here’s to what I think will be an even better year for Monrovia, which I truly believe to be the brightest gem in the crown that is the San Gabriel Valley.
Thanks you again for coming out, and good night.