In one of his final public addresses before leaving city government, Mayor Frank Quintero commended the city on Thursday for coming a long way from when he first started a business here more than 30 years ago.
“We are in very, very good shape,” Quintero said during the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the City Luncheon.
He pointed to a 25% drop in major crimes over four years, a top-notch fire department and a developing downtown.
Quintero told the more than 300 people in attendance at the Glendale Hilton that while the city has its critics, it’s better off than others. When he meets city leaders from across the state, they often ask him how Glendale is faring so well despite obstacles brought on by the protracted recession, he said.
Despite economic hard times, the city has been able to attract new businesses such as Bloomingdale’s and Whole Foods’ regional headquarters, he said. In addition, about 2,000 residential units are being developed in downtown, which are expected to bring a younger generation to the city’s core.
“I think it’s absolutely going to help our downtown business climate,” he said, noting that planned renovations to the Central Library and a proposed Museum of Neon Art in downtown will also be improvements.
He applauded the city for its work with veterans. Not only is a 44-unit complex known as Veterans Village in the development process in south Glendale, but a veterans coalition of local nonprofit service providers has been working together this year to share resources.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to show some gratitude,” said the Vietnam War veteran.
In addition to development and public safety successes, Quintero pointed to the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, a new amenity with a pedestrian and bicycle trail, an equestrian facility and public art project along the Los Angeles River.
Earlier this year, the city received a $975,000 grant to extend the river project, which in its final phase may include a bridge to Griffith Park.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” Quintero said.
This year marks Quintero’s third term as mayor. He’s served on the council since 2001. After the municipal election on Tuesday, he’ll be leaving public office. He’s often asked what he plans to do afterward, and he said he always says the same thing:
“I’m going to ride my Harley-Davidson.”