Gurrola gives State of the City address
Porterville Mayor Virginia Gurrola said she could talk about how awful it is that the state is robbing the city of money or about the city’s tight budget, but said she chose to focus her State of the City address on future development.
“We’ve got some exciting things happening in the city. Let’s journey through Porterville’s future,” she told a theater-full of local business owners and city and county officials at a Porterville Chamber of Commerce’s monthly networking meeting Friday morning.
The newly-appointed mayor cited a range of planned projects, including the construction of the new South County Detention Facility, the new South County Justice Center, and the completion of the Riverwalk Marketplace Phase II, which includes the construction of a new Walmart Supercenter at the Highway 190 and Jaye Street shopping center.
She said she expects a court ruling on the project, which was certified by the Porterville City Council Feb. 7 and challenged a month later, by the spring of 2013.
“This is probably the one project that citizens ask me about regularly,” she said.
Gurrola also mentioned plans for construction of a Walgreens Pharmacy on the northeast corner of Henderson Avenue and Prospect Street and of a mixed-use project on Henderson Avenue and Newcomb Street that may include the construction of multifamily residential units, retail and office spaces and a mini-storage.
She noted several road improvement projects such as the widening of the Plano Street bridge to begin in 2013, the widening of Highway 65 to begin in 2014, and short-, mid-, and long-term plans for improvements along the Highway 190 corridor.
The mayor said that with the recent approval of the Sequoia Valley Enterprise Zone, a state designation that offers tax credits and incentives to stimulate business investment and new jobs in economically distressed areas, the city has seen several industrial manufacturing inquiries on potential sites for development.
She went on to talk about the status of the run-down Porterville Hotel.
“With the state’s elimination of redevelopment this year, the project has been suspended until the funds dedicated to the project are released and approved by the state,” she said. “I know that many of us are hoping this will happen soon.”
She listed a couple of projects to be federally funded through Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grants, including the installation of curb, gutters, and sidewalks at Worth Avenue, from Westwood Street to Highway 65.
Other projects Gurrola touched on:
- Design for a new public safety station at Jaye Street, south of Highway 190, is complete and is expected to break ground in the fall of 2013
- The Porterville Fire Department’s regional fire training facility continues to expand
- The Porterville Police Department’s plans to renovate a 100-year-old house to use as a training facility at it’s new shooting range and the city will consider options to open the range to the public
- Design for the new animal shelter is complete with construction of the facility tentatively set for 2014
- Design for the Chase Avenue Park is complete and construction is set to begin in the spring of 2013
- The Tule River Parkway land acquisition is near and design will soon begin on the third phase of the project, connecting Main street to Plano Street on the north bank of the Tule River and serving as a complement to Chase Avenue Park.
She concluded her speech by commending her fellow council members and by commending city staff.
Gurrola said that a lot of the projects she mentioned came before the council years ago during her last stint as city mayor.
“In 1995 to 2003, we saw some of these projects come forward, but it takes lots of councils and mayors to complete what you have in the city and what you will have in the future,” she said. “I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the city staff.”
Contact Denise Madrid at 784-5000, Ext. 1047. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseMadrid_.