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Citrus Heights Messenger

Projecting the City’s Future

Oct 26, 2023 11:06AM ● By Thomas J. Sullivan

The Citrus Heights State of the City address on October 19, 2023, gave community leaders and members a look back at the year’s accomplishments and challenges. From left to right: Citrus Heights City Manager Ash Feeney, Councilmembers Porsche Middleton, Vice Mayor Bret Daniels, Mayor Tim Schaefer, Jayna Karspinski-Costa, MariJane Lopez-Taff. Photo courtesy of the City of Citrus Heights

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Citrus Heights Mayor Tim Schaefer and city manager Ashley J. Feeney reviewed accomplishments and looked back at milestones in the city’s annual State of the City Address at City Hall. Guests were also given a look as to what’s ahead for the city.

Mayor Schaefer welcomed representatives from city boards and commissions, and local leaders in business, education, nonprofits, and residents in attendance. Last year’s State of the City address honored the city’s 25th anniversary of incorporation.

The pair described priority focus areas of community connection, community image, economic development, and infrastructure.

A welcome reception hosted by the Citrus Heights Chamber of Commerce provided an opportunity for community leaders, dignitaries, businesses, and community organizations to connect and network. Guests enjoyed food from local restaurants, including Uzbek Caravan Cuisine, MealPro, Texas Roadhouse, and others.

“Tonight, we’re celebrating hard-won successes, overcoming hurdles, and the exciting things to come for our city,” Schaefer said. “We can’t do that without acknowledging our City Staff and Citrus Heights Police Department in the audience,” Schaefer said in opening remarks. He cited the community’s “resourcefulness, care, and unwavering dedication to progress have made all the difference” during the past year.

“Citrus Heights has been guided by three principles since its incorporation in 1997: local control, fiscal prudence, and public safety. City incorporation was in large part about neighbors and business owners who wanted to control their destiny in continually working towards a better community,” Feeney said.

Citrus Heights City Manager Ash Feeney emphasized this community’s need to control its destiny in all its pursuits. Photo courtesy of City of Citrus Heights

“Through collaborative efforts, we have addressed key challenges, advanced initiatives, and stewarded our future. These achievements underscore the strengths of our collective determination and our ability to overcome obstacles for the greater good,” he said. “We must continue to prioritize our shared principles of local control, fiscal prudence, public safety, as well as our community’s needs.”

Last year, the city obtained over $23 million in grant funding, the highest volume of grant award funding for any fiscal year ever, Schaefer said. The city also broke ground and began construction on the 2.9-mile Arcade Cripple Creek Trail.

The city initiated the creation of a $1 million Business Attraction Incentive Program to attract new restaurants, breweries and entertainment, in addition to building community connection through new events like the Stars & Stripes Celebration, City Scoop, as well as its annual Sunday Funday.

Street improvements
In 2022, the city launched its residential street resurfacing project. It prepared and unanimously adopted a two-year budget that included significant allocations for street repairs for the first time in its history, starting with $2 million in fiscal year 2023-24 and increasing to $4 million in fiscal year 2024-25. The city has enhanced its partnership with CalTrans to increase blight abatement and prevention in described hot spot areas like I-80 and Antelope Road.

Schaefer said the city has also been awarded $8.1 million in grant funding from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments for the Auburn Boulevard Complete Streets Phase 2 project.

“The poor roadway conditions are a continuing challenge. To improve all city roads to a satisfactory pavement standard would cost more than $90 million,” he said. The mayor projected ongoing significant maintenance costs in excess of $13 million annually for adequate maintenance, with spikes in specific years to address larger roadway conditions.

Sunrise Tomorrow
The city adopted an overlay zone for the Sunrise MarketPlace to promote community desired uses and awarded $350,000 Green Means Go Grant award for infrastructure-related work to support Sunrise Tomorrow. While the city does not own the mall site, Schaefer said its redevelopment will be driven by the property owners who bring forward projects consistent with the (Sunrise Tomorrow) plan vision.

“As a direct result of this work, the City received a parcel map application that serves as the first step to developing a hotel near the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Greenback Lane. The entitlement is under review and anticipated to move forward for consideration this winter,” Schaefer said. The city also awarded a $20,000 economic development grant to Sunrise MarketPlace to create murals throughout the district.


Police and Public Safety
Shaefer acknowledged Citrus Heights Police Chief Alex Turcotte in the audience and recognized the city’s recent investment in its police department fleet replacement program and critical upgrades to the department’s communications center. A $2.9 million retail theft grant will help support the Citrus Heights business community with crime prevention, he said. A Chronic Nuisance Offender Program and Community Prosecutor has begun to increase local control over accountability measures for repeat nuisance offenders and a shopping cart ordinance was adopted by the city to help prevent blight.

In June, Sacramento Self Help Housing and the affiliated Homeless Navigator service abruptly dissolved. In September, after much work behind the scenes, the City Council unanimously approved a partnership with the Sacramento County Department of Homeless Services and Housing and Sacramento Covered. The program will deploy community health workers into our community to support our unhoused neighbors with information, referrals to services and housing, and other resources, Schaefer said.


Community events
One of the highlights of the year was bringing the Wall That Heals, the Vietnam War Memorial replica to Citrus Heights. The Wall, 375 feet long and engraved with over 58,000 names, was set up at Rusch Park for three days, 24 hours a day, for all to visit and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The city hosted the first annual Stars & Stripes Celebration at Van Maren Park. Over 3,500 guests enjoyed live music, food from local food trucks, and a spectacular firework show.

“Good Neighbor Week” was proclaimed by the city from September 28th through October 4th.

A new “City Scoop” summer event series premiered in July. Residents enjoyed ice cream provided by Leatherby’s Family Creamery and learned more about what’s happening in their neighborhoods. Residents were also able to learn about city projects in their area including Old Auburn Complete Streets, and how they can chip in through our Citrus Heights Cares campaign and beautification initiatives.

A fully equipped Community Block Party Trailer was also made available for residents to reserve on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The city also piloted a Community Projects Grant program to get federal American Rescue Plan Act funding into the community. The program engaged community groups in creative efforts to promote community involvement, pride, and connection by providing grants for special events and projects in the city.

A first round of funding supported an arts event series with Citrus Heights Arts, youth entrepreneurship programming with Junior Achievement, student cooking classes with Sunrise Christian Food Ministry, community open mic and talent show nights with Royal Stage and senior friendship bags coordinated by Citrus Heights Women’s Club.

Schaefer said a new Citrus Heights Neighborhood Engagement Network will be launched in 2024 to unify the city’s community engagement programming, its Neighborhood Areas and the Resident Empowerment Association (REACH) of Citrus Heights.

“Our community engagement programming is not city-owned; it is co-created and co-authored by our community – that’s all of us working together,” Schaefer said. “We gain the ability to introduce our network of neighborhood areas to new residents in a simple, inclusive way and can engage residents at every level of participation and commitment and ensure a place for everyone who has a desire to contribute, can do so.”

Mayor Tim Schaefer acknowledged the City’s staff and Police Department in their efforts in creating a positive and safe environment for Citrus Heights to thrive. Photo courtesy of City of Citrus Heights 

In all, the city reported it achieved 24 strategic objectives as it advanced its community goals. It filled 51 job vacancies due to resignations and retirements, welcomed 505 new businesses, approved 68 new homes and 23 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) for occupancy, responded to 6,815 service requests for beautification and repairs and performed over 7,000 building inspections. The city disbursed $140,000 in community support funding to local nonprofits.

The city also hosted 13 community events, stewarded $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for accessibility improvements and local non-profit support, and completed 10 multi-modal traffic safety program neighborhood safety improvement projects.

“By fostering stronger partnerships and engaging with our residents we can achieve our mission to make Citrus Heights the city of choice for residents and businesses to prosper and thrive,” Schaefer said. “Together, we will create a future that we will be proud to pass on for generations to come.”

The State of the City program is available to view on the Citrus Heights website or the Citrus Heights YouTube Channel.


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