ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 5, 2019) — Calling for a new Golden Age for Anaheim, Mayor Harry Sidhu in his inaugural State of the City address on Tuesday set out a bold initiative to invest $250 million in Anaheim neighborhoods in the next 10 years, with direct input from residents.
“We aim for nothing less than a new Golden Age for Anaheim,” Sidhu said before a sold-out audience of 860 people at the City National Grove of Anaheim. “The key to making all our visions real is putting our residents first. For many years, the promise of Anaheim has been that as our economy thrives, our people will thrive with it.”
Known as Anaheim First, Sidhu’s initiative involves residents from across the city, hearing from them about what they would like to see in their neighborhoods.
Under the proposal, the city would consider resident input as it looks at neighborhood improvement projects. Input would be advisory with city staff and, ultimately, the City Council, directing funding and projects.
“It starts with listening,” Sidhu said.
We have identified $20 million in funding to kick off the first year of the Anaheim First initiative, drawing on state transportation funding and neighborhood improvement funding and borrowing against a city fund with a healthy reserve.
Residents will offer input through the independent Anaheim First Advisory Committee, which now includes 30 people from across Anaheim and is set to grow to 90 in coming weeks.
The Anaheim First Advisory Committee will be made up of advisory boards from each of Anaheim’s six City Council districts.
Each district advisory board will be made up of 15 people offering their thoughts, hopes and desires for their neighborhoods.
As independent advisory boards, the resident groups are similar to Anaheim's former neighborhood councils, which were resident-run and offered direct input on neighborhood needs.
The Anaheim First initiative builds on a longstanding Anaheim model of encouraging economic development for the benefit of residents.
It is a model that goes back to the earliest days of the city. It includes embracing Walt Disney’s original theme park, Angels Baseball, the Anaheim Convention and Honda Center, home to the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.
“We engage in bringing jobs and investment to this city so that we can invest the proceeds in our neighborhoods,” Sidhu said. “For many years, the promise of Anaheim has been that as our economy thrives, our people will thrive with it.”
Future years of the Anaheim First initiative would be funded by expected new city revenue from economic development in the Platinum Triangle, home to Anaheim’s sports venues, and continued growth in The Anaheim Resort, home to the city’s theme parks, convention center and hotels.
Anaheim is set to see development around Honda Center as a result of an agreement struck last year with Anaheim Arena Management, owner of the Anaheim Ducks and operator of the city-owned area.
That will generate new property, sales and potential hotel tax revenue for Anaheim, with portions of it going to neighborhood improvements.
There’s also significant potential for economic development around Angel Stadium of Anaheim as part of the city’s look at a new, long-term lease with Angels Baseball. The city is in early stage talks with the team, with more details expected later this year.
Meanwhile, The Anaheim Resort continues to see growth, with new hotels and legions of new visitors expected for the May opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park.
Sidhu also outline plans for a mayoral task force to explore potential new forms of transit to move residents, employees and visitors from the Platinum Triangle to The Anaheim Resort, the city’s two main economic centers.
The task force is set to look at transit innovations being tested in other cities, including:
Sidhu also recapped Anaheim’s leadership on homelessness, with a moving presentation on how we’ve changed the lives of those in need and restored our parks, streets and neighborhoods.
In an astonishing 70 days since Dec. 20, Anaheim opened three homeless shelters. The shelters have helped those in need while allowing us to clear unsustainable encampments at our parks and on our streets.
The State of the City also included updates from Anaheim’s world-renowned businesses, the Disneyland Resort, Angels Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks.
Anabel Muñoz, a reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News, served as master of ceremonies for the 2019 State of the City.
The event also featured a silent auction benefiting Visit Anaheim Cares, the charitable arm of Visit Anaheim, the tourism and visitor bureau for Anaheim and surrounding areas.
This year’s State of the City also marked a return to partnering with the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce to host the annual event.
To read more about Sidhu’s Anaheim First initiative, click here.
To read Sidhu’s speech, visit Anaheim.net/StateoftheCity.