gilroy city hall rosanna street
Gilroy City Hall. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
music in the park san jose

Slowly but surely, the City of Gilroy has made progress over the past year in its economic development efforts, transportation service improvements and the delivery of other public services—and more is on the horizon. That was Mayor Marie Blankley’s message during her annual State of the City speech April 29 at City Hall. 

After recognizing and thanking numerous local officials, dignitaries and representatives of influential community organizations in the audience at the council chambers on Rosanna Street, Blankley introduced San Jose Sharks President Jonathan Becher, who attended the State of the City meeting. Blankley revealed that at the May 6 city council meeting, Sharks Sports & Entertainment will present proposed designs for two NHL-sized ice skating rinks at the Gilroy Sports Park. 

Marie Blankley
Marie Blankley

The city and Sharks representatives have been discussing such a project for several years at the park at 5935 Monterey Frontage Road. If approved, the potential 100,000-square-foot facility would be constructed as the third phase of the Gilroy Sports Park. 

The presentation of designs on May 6 will be a key milestone in the process to build the new ice skating facility, which is expected to be a significant attraction for Gilroy. Blankley said the council on May 6 could end up voting to approve the facility design, and she hopes the next step would be to begin seeking bids for construction. 

Blankley pointed to the Sharks project as a spark for additional economic development for Gilroy’s future. 

“That’s going to draw who knows how much more interest in that sports park,” Blankley said. “It’s wonderful economic development that I’m very proud to be part of…It’s a real win for Gilroy.”

As she thanked her elected colleagues on the city council for their past approvals, the mayor said pursuing the ice rink project has been “one of the most exciting endeavors in my first term as mayor.”

Another recent highlight for economic development is the recent news that Pulmuone Foods, a wholesome Korean food manufacturer based in Gilroy, will be investing about $32 million in an expansion of their local operations, Blankley said. 

Two new industrial buildings—each about 200,000 square feet—are almost ready to house tenants; and a new commercial project at Chestnut Avenue and Tenth Street is slated to be complete within a year, bringing a new five-story hotel and a Chick-fil-A restaurant to the south side of town, Blankley added.

The mayor also listed numerous new businesses that have opened in Gilroy in the past year. 

“Investing in Gilroy is something that comes with risk (and) we are so appreciative of everybody that decides to take that risk,” Blankley said. 

In the coming year, the city council will take a closer look at how to develop unused land at Gilroy Gardens. The theme park on site only occupies about 70 acres of the 536-acre site, and Blankley suggested a portion of the unused land could be developed for something that complements Gilroy Gardens and draws visitors to town. 

The city is currently negotiating with a potential developer of the land, and those negotiations could result in a plan to present to the city council later this year, Blankley said. 

After describing a number of recent improvements in local transportation services, recycled water delivery and affordable housing, Blankley made a brief push for a potential quarter-cent sales tax measure that she hopes will appear on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. This tax—if approved by two-thirds of the voters—would fund only public safety and provide an ongoing source of revenue to allow Gilroy’s police, fire and emergency medical services to keep pace with projected growth. 

“If we want to do something today, we need a revenue stream and it has to be a recurring revenue stream,” Blankley said. “The best we have come up with so far is a quarter-cent sales tax.”

The city council earlier this year gave Gilroy city staff the direction to draw up a viable ballot measure for the November ballot. The council will consider the language of a measure to submit to county elections officials at a meeting in the near future, Blankley added. 

Other highlights

Blankley used her April 29 State of the City speech to highlight numerous recent and ongoing transportation and housing related improvements in Gilroy. 

These include a “huge jolt” of funding for a five-year street maintenance program approved by the council about three years ago; and the recent commencement of construction on the new Gourmet Alley corridor through Gilroy’s downtown. 

Blankley also praised the efforts of her fellow council members and Caltrain officials for the addition last year of a fourth daily Caltrain fare from Gilroy and back. Since this expansion of Caltrain was implemented in September 2023, ridership to and from South County has risen by 138 daily trips, or 38%, Blankley noted. 

“Even though it may seem like we’re inching forward, it’s progress and we’re moving in the right direction,” Blankley said after listing these and other transportation milestones. 

Blankley, who was elected to her first term in 2020 and is running for reelection in November, called attention during the speech to the numerous local government agencies, past city officials and nonprofit organizations that have influenced the recent progress. She also acknowledged her city council colleagues for their involvement. 

“We have accomplished a lot together,” Blankley concluded. “We are Gilroy, and I am so very proud to be your mayor.” 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


  1. Dear Friends,
    Thanks for reporting about transportation, a favorite of mine. So, as with previous editions at the mayor’s spot, what is the cost of a bus ride? train ride? Bullet Train ride? and how much of the cost will the passenger pay, and how much of it will the taxpayers pay? Dejavu all over again, Yogi. When is socialism a better transportation solution than the private sector? Why don’t our leaders follow their own experts’ advice about transport funding? They concluded “user fees” is best; but we reject that advice, and add a 1/4 cent here, and a 1/2 cent there, here, there, and everywhere, and what do we get in the end? Lousy public sector transit, where only the public sector union employees win, while the rest of us pay higher, higher, and higher gas taxes, and other taxes. Why don’t we cut spending instead of raising taxes, fees, fines, assessments, mandates, etc.? Why did we denationalize the railroads after they were nationalized during the Wilson Administration? Why did Lincoln say “no” to Gen. Granville Dodge, at the White House in 1864, when Dodge, who was later UPRR top civil engineer, told the President that the transcontinental railroad should be owned by the government. Dodge recites his interview with Lincoln in his seminal “How We Built the Transcontinental Railroad.”
    During the debate in 1970 on creation of the National Railroad Passenger Act (a/k/a Amtrak), advocates promised that it would be “self-sufficient in three years.” How’d that work out? By 9/11/01, taxpayers’ subsidies to Amtrak, in hundred dollar bill stacked together, reached higher than the World Trade Centers had stood. We had Amtrak, but our airport security didn’t serve us well. In 2009 Mark Derry published a letter in which I predicted that the price of a gallon of gas would rise to $10.00 to fund the bankrupt-from-conception Bullet Train. Looks like I was too optimistic. Today, I’d venture to say it will be closer to $20/gallon. History teaches us that public sector “services” come with a fatal price tag. Today’s leaders have us on the Road to Serfdom, same route taken by the USSR.
    Joe Thompson, Past-President 1999-2001, 2006, Gilroy-Morgan Hill Bar Assn., Past-Chair, Legislation Committee, Transportation Lawyers Assn., 408-848-5506; [email protected]

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  2. My wish for Gilroy is that, with all the intended growth, that the protection of our agricultural and open-space areas stay an important factor in moving forward.

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