And just like that, it’s 2023! Halfway through my first mayoral term, it is my pleasure to share with you all that we’ve accomplished despite the setbacks of Covid, and what we have to look forward to.
In 2022 we began a five-year street maintenance plan that would prevent the further deterioration of our city streets. The City Council authorized funding for years 1 and 2 of that five-year plan. The funding for years 2024 and 2025 of this essential city service will need to be addressed at the Council’s upcoming (Jan. 28) strategic planning session for the next two-year budget cycle, the details of which are discussed below.
Also accomplished in 2022 was the go-ahead to add two ice rinks to the Gilroy Sports Park that will be operated by the San Jose Sharks organization. We anticipate construction to begin by Summer 2023 and a timeline of 18 to 24 months to completion. In our downtown we have nearly completed the multi-purpose Gourmet Parking Lot on Seventh and Eigleberry that also gives greater visibility and access to the Veteran’s Hall and the Gilroy Center for the Arts. We are about to begin construction on both Gourmet and Railroad Alleys which will provide inviting pedestrian access to restaurants and businesses on the back side of the buildings along Monterey Street between Fourth and Seventh streets.
This spring should see the improved yet still temporary Santa Teresa Fire Station. The City is prepared and will construct the permanent station as soon as the funding requirements of the 2005 Glen Loma Development Agreement are triggered. Council also supported the continued funding of a trust to help finance our PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) debt, a partnership with Gilroy Unified School District for police officers dedicated to school safety, and two “Quality of Life” officers dedicated to encampment issues and social service connections.
In 2022 we addressed our next eight-year cycle of housing capacity requirements as set for all Bay Area cities by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). To assure that all cities allocate enough land within their zoning jurisdictions to accommodate housing of all types and levels of affordability, minimum housing capacity is set by RHNA for each category of housing affordability. Gilroy’s housing site capacity as provided in our 2040 General Plan exceeds our RHNA requirements by more than 20%, meaning we are well in compliance and positioned for applications to build. We currently have an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the County for 57 housing units near the transit center, 50% of which will be very low and extremely low-income housing (25% each), and low-income for the remainder.
The Gilroy City Council will convene on Jan. 28 from 9am–1pm in Council Chambers (7351 Rosanna St.) to discuss the next budget cycle wherein we prioritize direction to city staff for the next two years (fiscal years 2024 and 2025). This strategic planning session brings transparency to Council deliberations and offers public participation in how the Council directs city staff with our city resources. The end result allows us to move forward together in support of city staff achieving those goals. One such goal I anticipate to be discussed and for which we heard requests at several city council meetings last year is the recreational facility needs of our community. A community center was considered as part of the ice rink additions to the Gilroy Sports Park, but the location is far from central to the city and less ideal for residents of all ages and all neighborhoods to access. Also included in requests to the City are recreational facilities for pickleball and a BMX park.
As we go into 2023 and look to Gilroy’s future, I hope a sense of togetherness will lead us to even greater accomplishments, and that we continually strive to be a warm and welcoming community for all. Please follow City news and announcements by subscribing online to the City’s weekly Email Express at cityofgilroy.org, or by contacting the city clerk at [email protected] or 408.846.0204.
Wishing everyone joy and kindness in 2023. Happy New Year, Gilroy!
Marie Blankley, CPA is the mayor of Gilroy.