City of Porterville
Greetings from Mayor Cameron J. Hamilton
As Mayor of the City of Porterville it is my honor and privilege to provide the following 2013 “State of the City” information. I’m proud to say that the City continues to not only survive, but to thrive, as we continue to distance ourselves and escape the lingering shadows of the Great Recession. During this past calendar year, we saw significant projects finally come to fruition, and with new important projects set to soon begin in the coming year, we continue to make steady progress toward improving the quality of life for our community and citizenry.
Despite the many budgetary and political challenges and delays the project faced, we finally saw this past October the opening of the beautiful new South County Justice Center, a project more than a decade in the making – special thanks to Honorable Judge Roper for his tenacity and diligence in championing this critically-important and landmark project for the community. Combined with the Bank of the Sierra’s acquisition of its facility and maintaining its Corporate Headquarters on Main Street, the Downtown area will continue to serve as the city’s primary business and financial district, and most significantly the identity and proverbial “heart of our community.”
Adding to the revitalization of Downtown, and another project that has suffered budgetary and political challenges and delays, we look forward with unbridled anticipation this coming year to the demolition of the blighted Porterville Hotel, with the State’s financial terms having been satisfied with the invaluable assistance and support of both Senator Fuller and Assemblywoman Conway. Adding to the aesthetics of Downtown, we look forward to the construction of pedestrian improvements on both Garden and Oak Avenues between the new Courthouse and Main Street, including widened stamped-concrete sidewalks, nostalgic streetlights, installation of benches, planting of trees and shrubs, and the painting of a mural on Mr. Basra’s new Subway restaurant (also another wonderful addition to Downtown this past year).
Beyond Downtown, we have seen an increase in economic development activity throughout the community, especially substantial development within the Jaye Street Crossings/Home Depot commercial center, though it is especially disappointing to note that more significant development in the Jaye Street commercial corridor would be occurring today if not for the Appeal and continued legal challenge of the resounding Superior Court decision in favor of the Riverwalk Marketplace/Super Walmart development.
It is exciting to see significant investment being made to rehabilitate and reuse existing older developments, including the Tule River Tribe remodeling and reopening of the Oak Pit Restaurant, Agricare relocating its offices from Strathmore and dramatically remodeling the former Forest Service facility on Grand Avenue, the former car wash on Porter Street is being transformed into medical offices, both McDonald’s and Taco Bell are implementing significant façade improvements to their restaurants on Henderson Avenue, as well as Wendy’s demolishing and completing rebuilding its restaurant. In addition to Walgreen’s expected demolition of the existing shopping center and new construction on the northeast corner of Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street, several new national brand retail developments are expected in the coming year along the Henderson Avenue commercial corridor.
In regard to City projects, a significant project almost twenty years in the making which suffered extraordinary budgetary and environmental challenges and delays, we finally saw the beginning of construction on the widening of the Plano Street Bridge. If construction plans hold, we should see the completion of the project this coming year. The widening of the Jaye Street bridge is also currently under design, and although dependent on environmental regulation and approval, could begin construction as soon as 2014. Significant road construction has and will continue to occur, most notably the reconstruction of W. North Grand Avenue.
Beginning this past year and continuing into the coming year, the City began a significant project toward improving the quality of life for a sizeable portion of our city’s population. At a cost of more than $7 million, the City is installing lacking necessary infrastructure, including sewer and water lines, as well as resurfacing streets, in former County areas that were annexed into the city in 2006. Serving more than an estimated 5,000 residents and 1,500 connections, almost ten miles of sewer main lines will be installed in several phases over the next year.
Also seeking to improve the quality of life in an underserved portion of our community, the City looks forward to the construction and opening of the new park on Chase Avenue, which will feature a complete ADA-access playground and water-play feature.
The City’s Fire Training Facility has continued its extraordinary development and the construction of training props, with special thanks and gratitude to the Tule River Indian Tribe for their support and collaboration with the City in assisting with Indian Gaming Community Benefit grant funds in the development of this facility and the purchase of a specialized rescue vehicle and equipment. Beyond providing exemplary training opportunities for the City’s Fire personnel without having to travel to other jurisdictions, the facility also serves an economic development purpose, as other jurisdictions are now traveling to Porterville to receive trainings, staying in our local hotels and eating in our restaurants.
The design of the City’s new Public Safety station is complete, which is to be located on Jaye Street south of Highway 190, and is anticipated to be fully-funded and scheduled to begin construction in 2014. Similarly, with a design being reviewed for compliance for current State Building Code, the new Animal Shelter Facility is anticipated to be fully-funded and scheduled to begin construction in 2014, to be located on W. Grand Avenue north of the City’s Corporation Yard and behind the Porterville Marketplace/Target shopping center.
As I stated in the beginning, the city of Porterville continues to not only survive, but to thrive, and we look forward with excitement toward the coming year and its accomplishments.