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Costa Mesa is in ‘a state of restoration,’ mayor says during address

Costa Mesa is in “a state of restoration” Mayor Katrina Foley said Wednesday during an address highlighting the city’s recent accomplishments and significant work.

“It’s such a great time to live in the city and work in the city and to come here and play,” she told about 240 people in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

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The State of the City luncheon, presented by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, gave Foley a chance to not only shine a spotlight on what the city has done lately but also to detail some ongoing projects and overarching priorities.

One of the major topics was the city’s effort to address homelessness, including the months of work that culminated in last week’s opening of a 50-bed “bridge shelter” at Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene.

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“We have worked tirelessly,” Foley said, “and I want to give a shout-out to our entire City Council for their leadership and their political will to move forward with regard to doing something about homelessness, as opposed to pushing people from one block or one park to another.”

Foley said the council’s current top priorities include exploring ways to improve local neighborhoods, enhance public safety and boost the quality of life for residents.

Those efforts include rebuilding and augmenting resources available to the local police and fire departments and looking at ways to upgrade community recreation spaces, including Shalimar Park, which serves one of Costa Mesa’s densest neighborhoods, and the Costa Mesa Skate Park, which Foley said the city is “talking about expanding.”

“We also know that we need to have a skate park on the Westside,” she said. “The problem is, where are you going to put it? … We’ll keep having those conversations.”

To carry out the vision of community reinvestment, it’s important that Costa Mesa’s finances be in good shape. Key components of that, Foley said, are diversifying the city’s revenue streams and keeping a watchful eye for potential opportunities.

“We are business-friendly,” she said. “We’re trying to make sure that we repurpose areas of town so that we can get more businesses going and we can support businesses thriving here in Costa Mesa.”

Foley said it’s vital for residents to have a seat at the table and that City Hall is focused on “talking to people, not at people.”

“We want to restore trust in our government and in the community engagement process,” she said. “We have a council that is very, very committed to making sure that the community is engaged and informed.”

Awards for local businesses

During Wednesday’s event, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Eileen Benjamin and President Tom Johnson presented awards to four businesses to recognize their history and community involvement.

Volcom — a locally based and globally known action sports brand — was honored with the Capital of Cool award, a reference to an unofficial city nickname.

The Pillar of Costa Mesa award went to Ganahl Lumber: a hardware and lumber chain that has done business in the community for years and recently opened a new facility on Bristol Street.

Cla-Val — an automatic control valve manufacturer headquartered on Placentia Avenue — was recognized as a Community Partner, and the Innovative Small Business award went to Barley Forge Brewing Co., a microbrewery on Randolph Avenue.

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