A new year and a lot of potential changes are coming to the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area in 2017. A list some of the things to look out for in the next 12 months.
GARDEN GROVE: The City of Youth and Ambition has a new mayor (Steve Jones) and an expanded, seven-member city council. Major issues for the community include an expansion of the Grove District entertainment district along Harbor Boulevard and a re-imagined downtown district. At least four new hotels have been approved, and expansion of the wildly successful Great Wolf Lodge is a possibility. Once the tax revenue for the latest projects starts flowing, the city may well be able to put its “structural deficit” behind it and get into the black. A re-branding campaign called “Garden Grove is your Market” will be rolled out in 2017.
On the school front, the Garden Grove Unified School District also has a newly-organized governing body, with trustees chosen by district. Voters on Nov. 8 approved another bond issue for school modernization, so construction on campuses of the county’s third-largest district will continue apace.
HUNTINGTON BEACH: At the risk of sounding excessively flip, the changes in Surf City in 2017 may center on tourism and trash. Hotel development along Pacific Coast Highway continues, and the Pacific City mixed-use project opened in 2016 fills up with new tenants. Visitors to the city for various surf contests are joined by a second year for the Breitling Air Show, which attracted an estimated 500,000 people to town last year. The battle over the stinky trash facility on Nichols in the Oak View neighborhood has – in theory – been resolved, and Republic Services has agreed to completely enclose the refuse and recycling operation there which has blighted an area with odor, dust and more.
The proposed Poseidon desalination plant on Pacific Coast Highway will continue to be a matter of controversy and conflict. In the public schools, the Ocean View and Huntington Beach City school districts each won bond issue elections, so movement toward modernization of K-8 campuses will move ahead in 2017, although actual “sticks in the ground” may not appear until the following year.
WESTMINSTER: This city may be in for the most changes of the three. Voters approved a 1-cent sales tax for the city, which should bring the municipality back from the brink of bankruptcy. What’s almost important are aspects of the recently-approved general plan that call for the creation of a new downtown along Westminster Boulevard from Beach Boulevard west to Springdale, and a re-thinking of the struggling Westminster Mall that would include housing at that location.
In the Westminster School District, another bond issue means more modernization and expansion of the K-8 campuses, including a new gymnasium at Stacey Middle School.
Categories: Across the Area