While reading the Glendale News-Press article, “A year of highlights and low points,” I couldn't help but reflect on 2012. Although last year was difficult for the global economy, we would be remiss not to remind ourselves of the great accomplishments we achieved at home.
Quality of Life
Parks: Just this past December, Glendale Narrows Riverwalk opened. The project included two small parks, an equestrian facility, a public art project, and a half-mile recreational trail. The project was awarded a $975,000 grant to assist in the completion of Phase II by the California Natural Resources Agency. Also introduced to the city is Maryland Avenue Park in South Glendale. 2012 projects continue to provide new investments in our parks that will carry into 2013.
Housing: Doran Gardens opened, providing 57 affordable housing units for moderate income first-time home buyers. We partnered with an affordable housing developer to build “Veterans Village,” a 44-unit complex that will give preference to veterans. Numerous other mixed-use housing/commercial projects were approved in 2012 and will be on the market within the next several years. We look forward to the vibrancy the new additions like ICIS and Broadway Lofts will bring to our downtown area.
Libraries: The Brand Library renovation completed much of its work, transforming the historical location into a new and improved jewel in Glendale's educational facilities. Glendale Libraries launched its new Cloud, providing access to downloadable e-books. What a wonderful way to read books for free on your laptop, Kindleor iPad from the comfort of your home without having to drive anywhere.
A plane crashed in Glendale! The plane made a crash landing during the evening hours in a residential neighborhood. Although there was an immediate loss of power to the residential area as four power poles were destroyed, our Glendale Water & Power Department was able to repair and replace poles, restoring power by the next morning.
Glendale has seen a spike in development and interest in retail and business. The Downtown District in particular has attracted new clients such as the Regional Headquarters of Whole Foods. Bloomingdales and Nordstrom both began construction, the first Disney Baby Store in the country opened in Glendale, and the list of new businesses goes on.
Glendale is the leanest in 10 years. We adopted a balanced budget after a $15.4-million deficit through major personnel reductions, reorganization and guidance by the City Council.
Glendale is a leader in pension reform, providing sustainability to the municipality for the future. Working closely with our labor groups, the general employees, management, police and fire associations, they have all agreed to give back and pay more for their retirement and instituted a second tier for all new hires. We have consistently been the leaders in this area.
Glendale Fire Department maintained their Class 1 rating and the GFD has provided the Glendale community unrivaled protection and assistance during fires, rescues and medical emergencies.
Glendale Police Department was ranked as one of the Top 10 Safest Cities in America.
The department also opened its Regional DNA Laboratory this past year, bringing advanced technology to a new level in policing to solve crimes quicker and make Glendale and our surrounding communities even safer places to live, work and play.
All you have to do is drive around our beautiful city and see the vibrancy, people filling our downtown streets, restaurants full of cheer, kids playing in the parks and projects coming to fruition.
Yes, we have had some tough times, but on the first day of 2013, we all watched as the Glendale float participated in its 99th year in the Tournament of Roses Parade. It won the Governor's Trophy for best depiction of life in California.
So if you missed it, I think that says it all.
FRANK QUINTERO is the mayor of Glendale. He can be reached at MayorofGlendaleCA@ci.glendale.ca.us.