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Thank you to the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce for this opportunity to speak to you tonight and give you the State of the City Address this evening. It is always nice to stand and in front of all of you share out all of our successes over the past year and what we can look forward to in 2020.
The City continues to thrive and as you can see as you drive around, 2019 was another great year.
We had 28 new businesses open in 2019. This is up from 2018. I would like to highlight a couple of those new businesses: ● Kuppa Joy ● The Bakers Closet in the Village Mall ● Our Farmer’s Table ● GUSS (Global Unmanned Spray System) This award winning company is the world’s FIRST and ONLY autonomous orchard sprayer. They are proudly built here in Kingsburg along with their headquarters right here.
There were 58 new home building permits pulled in 2019. Many of those were in the Summerlyn Subdivision near Lincoln Elementary school which began Phase 1.
While we are speaking about homes and building, we hired Edward “Jake” Jakubowski as our new Building Official and Code Enforcement Officer with the retirement of Mike Koch in December. Jake recently worked for the County of Tulare.
Athwal Park improvements next to Reagan Elementary school is officially opened! These improvements include the city’s first skatepark, outdoor fitness center and new play structure. This could not have been done without our great partners on this project, the Tri-County Healthcare District and the Kingsburg Lions Club. Make sure you go check out the new park! If you have a younger child at home, I bet they have already been there! Stay tuned for more phases at the park.
Let’s talk about Public Safety and Measure E. Here are some key highlights from 2019 since the passage of this Measure:
With Measure E funds we were able to purchase a new Fire Engine which is the first time staff can remember we actually had a brand new Engine!
● Hired 3 new Fire fighters
● Hired 3 new Police Officers
● Thanks to a grant from the Tri-County Hospital District, the City also was able to purchase a new ambulance.
Continuing on in the Fire Department, we have a new Fire Chief named Daniel Perkins. Chief Perkins came to us from the City of Fresno and we are so happy to have him join our city.
On Sept. 11, Fire Station 2 was officially opened once again. This station is now open during peak hours during the week. The department also saw the addition of new Fire Captain Jeremy Owens from the City of Selma.
In the Police Department, the City saw a 31% reduction of Part 1 crimes (those are the burglary, robbery, larceny, assault, rape and grand theft auto) compared to 2018. Thank you to our Police Department for keeping our city safe each and everyday.
Officer Derek Gagnon is the new Student Resource Officer (or SRO) for the school districts. He started this past Monday (January 13). I know his presence will make parents and teachers feel safe knowing he will be around the schools. The City along with the Elementary and High School Districts wrote a Prop 56 tobacco grant for funding for this position.I would also like to thank Mayor Pro-tem Laura North for her invaluable help in writing this grant too.
I am so excited about the new Dala Trolley! I hope you have had a chance to ride on it. This brand new Blue and Yellow Trolley was given to us in partnership with the Fresno County Transit Authority. We are working on a fixed route for the Trolley and will be holding a training this year for anyone interested in getting their Class B license so they can be a volunteer Trolley driver. The trolley is available for rent, give Adam a call at city hall if you are interested!
So what’s ahead in 2020??
We just broke ground yesterday on the Linnaea Village Senior Housing just across the street from the Historical Park next to Tri County medical center. There will be 47 one and two bedroom units, outdoor gardens along with a community center and fitness center. This planned community is for low income seniors and will also include 5 market rate units. This is being built in partnership with the City by the Fresno Housing Authority (same people who built the Marion Villas) and Fresno County through their HOME fund investment. They plan to have this open by early 2021, So stay tuned on this project…
On the Residential Front: Summerlyn Subdivision will begin Phase 2 and look for the opening of Kings Estates at the corner of 18th and Kamm.
Valley Health Team – the organization has purchased one of the Sierra Street frontage lots in the Business Park and intends to build a health care facility there. They already have their sign up at the spot where they will be building their new location. State Foods – (this one I get asked about often) the owners are continuing to pursue opening a grocery store, suitable for Kingsburg, in the former Kmart Building. Swedish Mill – completely gutted and updated as you can see. The owner is looking for a franchisee to place a Country Waffles on the site. If you know of anyone interested in being a franchisee, please let us know! K Corporate Center – the owner is beginning the next phase of his business park with a 58,000 sq ft building. 38,000 has already been leased before they’ve even begun construction which is great news. Adventist Health has submitted plans to build a health care facility at the southwest corner of Sierra and Simpson Streets next to the Chevron Station. Site plan and building
plans have been approved. Construction should begin soon. The Stone Plaza – at the corner of California & Draper Streets – the owner has submitted plans which are under review. Grading has already begun. This will be once again a two story building with retail on the bottom floor and upstairs will be apartments. Gold Standard Mortgage – the owner now owns and is renovating the former Bank of America building. (I think we were all nervous when we heard this building was going to auction and knowing a local business owner bought this historic building made us all breathe a sign of relief!) He plans on moving his company to this location and leasing part of the remaining square footage to another business.
The Woods Building has a new owner. The structural plans have been approved and the floor/building plans have been submitted to the city for approval. As soon as those are approved, construction will begin. It will be so nice to see that building that has sat for SO LONG once again be brought back to life in the downtown area. Magosh Brewery owners are working on their plans for a facility behind Morgan’s Flooring. All of their plans are approved – their next phase is construction. The city updated the alley that is in-between Zen Salon and Morgan’s Flooring that leads to the Brewery. Perfect location for outdoor seating. They hope to be open by the Car Show.
Following along that path, I can announce that FOOLs Craft Cider will be opening in the Village Mall. Their ABC liquor license is already posted on their door and we look forward to them opening soon.
I see Mike Dunn is here tonight, the City has partnered with him for a Historic Downtown walking tour. You will be seeing pedestals around downtown with historic photos along with the history of our historic buildings that can also be changed out periodically. There will also be a QR code down at the bottom for more information. I think this is going to be a wonderful addition to our downtown area. Thank you Mike!
T-Mobile----- Their representatives are currently in court with several states’ Attorney General representatives that are opponents of the merger. We’re all hoping that the judge will determine that the merger with Sprint can go through so that the organization can begin making final plans for a 1,000 employee Customer Experience Center in Kingsburg. We are anticipating getting a ruling/update in mid-February. This is so important to not only Kingsburg but to our region. We will definitely keep you all informed on this merger.
All of this cannot happen without our amazing City Staff and City Council. I am up here speaking on behalf all of you and highlighting the great work that you do for ALL of us on a daily basis. The citizens may not know all of your names, but they are grateful for your hardwork and dedication to making this City a place where we are truly blessed to live…..the gem of the Valley…..and to be able to call Kingsburg HOME. Congratulations to all the winners tonight. Thank you for your time, I am truly honored to be your Mayor! NOW, here’s to a FANTASTIC 2020…..GOODNIGHT!!!!