Story by Susan Motander
Photos by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News
On Monday evening, the Monrovia City Council presented the State of the City as a group effort with each member of the council recapping a different aspect of the progress the city made in the preceding year. While the remarks of most of the members of the council would be well known to anyone attending or watching the City Council Meetings on a regular basis, those of the Mayor Pro Tem were more revealing.
Mayor Pro Tem Alex Blackburn discussed the economic accomplishments of the city. He noted that the council had directed, and the city staff was working to implement, “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.
He pointed to some of the companies in those fields that had recently come to the city including Beckman Research Institute and Oak Crest Institute of Science. He also noted the activities of LabLaunch, the biotech/science incubator located in Monrovia, the only such facility in the San Gabriel Valley. He made special mention of the commitments of the Oak Crest Institute in that “helping the City develop a stronger local biotech and science presence.”
One of the ways Oak Crest intends to do this is by creating another “incubator operation,” this one dedicated to biotech. Another is by working with local young people to see how careers in science “help change the world.” Balckburn also said that within the year the city hopes to work with Oak Crest to support the biotech and science industries by developing and supporting the local “ecosystem.”
He also briefly reviewed the other new companies that had come to Monrovia including nine new businesses in Old Town. Coming soon is a revitalized shopping center where the Albertson’s was located. This will include an Aldi grocery store and a TJMaxx/Homegoods store as well as revamping the existing Michaels. His report also included mention of the two new housing projects underway: the 154 unit complex on Fifth Avenue at Huntington Drive and the 261 unit apartment complex, MODA, at Station Square.
Gloria Crudgington discussed the historic preservation actions including the new neighborhood preservation ordinance. Crudgington also touched on the opening of the Hillside Wilderness preserve to passive recreational use.
Becky Shevlin focused on the City’s outreach efforts, both to other entities such as the Monrovia Arcadia Duarte Town Council and to the Monrovia Unified School District and its Board, but also to the citizens of the city itself through social media.
Larry Spicer recapped the city’s actions in regard to its outreach programs to the community, specifically the Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) and the Achieving Community Trust (ACT) programs and those to reach local veterans.
Mayor Tom Adams looked at a few of the areas the city was working to improve including streamlining the permit and plan check process. He noted that a part of the reason for the successes of the council over the past year was the spirit of collegiality among the members: “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.”
Adams concluded the evening saying ‘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.’”