So a city can be safe, well maintained, and economically strong, but how does that city remain that special place we want to call home? We’re a big city with a small town feel because we invest in our people, we honor our heritage through preservation, and we grow opportunities to gather as a community and work for common causes; we care about our neighbors!

Not only have we been working to end homelessness through the 24/7 multi service center effort, We took steps last year to stabilize City Lights, a permanent housing community that targets those most at risk for homelessness. By bringing in the John Stewart Co and their incredible social services representative, Michelle Manchester, City Lights is a safe, quality housing option that prevents homelessness in Fullerton. Michelle is here today. Michelle, stand up so we can thank you for your service to our community. This year, across our 23 square miles, new housing is being built. Soon, we’ll see the grand opening of both new senior apartments and market rate Class A apartments in our downtown. In Orange County, we are not building enough housing for our growing population. According to the Orange County Business Council’s Workforce Housing scorecard, Orange County has a housing deficit of over 50,000 units. If every community doesn’t address it, that deficit will likely grow to 100,000 units by 2040. In every community there is a tension between development and the community. I’ve heard it said that homebuilders can build a house anywhere! That’s why we carefully considers each housing proposal that is presented because we are dedicated to ensuring that new housing compliments current neighborhoods and is consistent with Fullerton’s heritage and character.

Malden Station, Lennar’s newest development of 200 apartments on Santa Fe at Highland in the SOCO District and the upcoming Watt Companies’ community of 17 single family homes on Lark Ellen in North Fullerton, are great examples of this Council’s thoughtful consideration of community character and appropriate density.

But it’s not just the new housing that we celebrate. This year we also designated the Hillcrest neighborhood as a historic preservation zone to ensure that neighborhood’s rich architectural and cultural history will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

With 50 parks in Fullerton, there are always projects in the pipeline. In 2016 we will see the groundbreaking on a long awaited restoration of Fullerton’s signature park, Hillcrest Park. As I said, Fullerton has 50 parks…We need two more parks though. It’s time to move forward with both development and preservation on the West Coyote Hills property and we need to open the adjacent Bob Ward Nature Preserve. Today I’m pleased to announce that design concepts for the Bob Ward Nature Preserve will be coming to city council for approval later this summer, and plans are underway right now to open the public trails within the reserve by year’s end.

The second park is Pearl Park. There are still neighborhoods in our city without park space. One such neighborhood is the Garnet neighborhood. just last month the City Council approved a grant application that will provide the funding for the purchase of property in the Garnet neighborhood that the residents there have already named, Pearl Park. Every child deserves a safe place to play…Garnet kids do too and it’s my goal this year to build this park.

Yet with all of the city’s focus on investing in our neighborhoods, the city can’t do it alone nor should we. Luckily, this community agrees. The third annual Love Fullerton is coming up on Saturday, April 30th. This year, close to 7000 people will flood six North Orange County cities to bring some much needed love to places throughout our communities. Including the projections for the upcoming 3rd anniversary of Love Fullerton, in our community alone, approximately 75 different improvement projects on public property will have been completed, by more than 8,000 volunteers and this work will have saved taxpayers more than $650,000! This movement really epitomizes the spirit of Fullerton to me.