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Posted on: July 14, 2021

State of the City: historic pandemic response; Anaheim's 'second Golden Age' ahead

State of the City

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 14, 2021) — Anaheim is entering a second Golden Age with more than $5 billion in investment planned around the city’s sports venues and theme parks, Mayor Harry Sidhu said Wednesday in his annual State of the City address. 

The investment around Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Honda Center and in the Anaheim Resort will lead the city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, which drove a devastating shutdown of Anaheim’s sports, entertainment, convention center and theme parks in 2020 and early 2021. 

“For any city to have endured the pandemic, the economic shutdown, the closure of schools and the social isolation, yet still emerge with a future so bright, it is clear for all to see that the state of our city is strong,” Sidhu said. 

More than $5 billion in new homes, entertainment, shopping, offices and parks is planned around Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Honda Center over the next few years.

In the Anaheim Resort, the city is working with Walt Disney Co. on updated planning and zoning to allow for a modern mix of hotels, shopping and entertainment and, eventually, new attractions at Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. 

Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock, Angels Baseball LP Chairman Dennis Kuhl and Honda Center Chief Executive Tim Ryan joined Sidhu by video. 

“We are committed to finding ways to invest in Anaheim for decades to come,” Potrock said. “These investments will create jobs, drive visitors to Anaheim, fill up hotels and add critical revenue, which helps all Anaheim residents.” 

The Angels and Honda Center shared plans for developing land around their sports and entertainment venues starting as early as next year and continuing for several years.

“We are emerging from the pandemic with exciting times ahead for Anaheim,” Honda Center’s Ryan said. 

With Angel Stadium, Anaheim continues to work through the planning process with the state of California, Sidhu said. 

Like cities across California, Anaheim is navigating an update to the state’s Surplus Land Act prioritizing affordable housing. 

The proposal for the stadium shares a goal of bringing more affordable housing with a  requirement for 466 affordable homes intermixed as part of a minimum of 3,105 apartments and condominiums around the Big A. 

“This project will bring excitement to Anaheim. But it is more than that,” Sidhu said. “It will be the largest expansion of affordable housing in our city’s history. I want everyone to know, whatever it takes, I will make our vision for the stadium a reality.” 

The investment coming to Anaheim will usher in a second Golden Age, Sidhu said, building on Anaheim’s original Golden Age starting in the 1950s with Walt Disney and Disneyland, Carl Karcher and Carl’s Jr., the Van Doren brothers of skate shoe maker Vans and Miguel Gonzalez of Northgate Market. 

“As mayor, I embrace the legacy of Anaheim’s Golden Age,” Sidhu said. “As we start this new golden age for Anaheim, our neighborhoods must benefit. Our theme parks, sports and entertainment bring joy to millions of people. But they also provide jobs and support families. Revenue from visitors serves our neighborhoods. That has always been the Anaheim model: A visitor economy that supports neighborhoods.” 

Sidhu recapped the devastating impact and historic city response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Make no mistake. It is no accident that Anaheim is back,” Sidhu said. “Our city has played a leading role fighting coronavirus.” 

The city has provided $67 million in rent assistance, help with utility bills, food for families, business grants, face masks for residents and restaurants, internet access for remote learning and other community and business help. 

Anaheim hosted Orange County’s largest COVID-19 testing site at the Anaheim Convention Center, testing more than 125,000 people, and also brought testing to neighborhoods. 

Spanning three large city-run sites, Anaheim led the vaccination of more than 500,000 Anaheim and Orange County residents and those who work here. 

Another 6,000 vaccinations were brought directly to neighborhoods with community clinics and mobile outreach, Sidhu said, an effort that continues today. 

“It is hard to see history as you live through it,” Sidhu said. “But, without a doubt, we have lived through history. Our mission in the months and years ahead is to define the next chapter of our history. As we move on from the challenges of the past year we will do so together, in opportunity and prosperity and into Anaheim’s new golden age.”

You can read Mayor Sidhu's full address here.

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