Garden Grove

Mayor outlines a hipper future for the city

GARDEN GROVE Mayor Steve Jones spoke on “The State of the City” on Tuesday at the Embassy Suites hotel (Orange County Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano

The future of Garden Grove will arrive on a bicycle or a streetcar. It will revolve around a vibrant downtown that blends the hip and the historic, as well as a glittering strand of high-rise hotels, shops and eateries.

That’s part of the vision that was outlined on Wednesday as Mayor Steve Jones presented the annual “State of the City” address before several hundred people at the Embassy Suites hotel.

Jones, backed by a city-produced video, told the audience of plans for Garden Grove that ranged from economic development to better streets and affordable housing.

At the conclusion of the address, Jones focused on the Willowick Golf Course, a 101-acre facility owned by the city but located within the city limits of Santa Ana. Leaders of the two cities are meeting and have agreed to a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on what could be a huge project.

“If we are able to set politics aside and keep our eyes on the prize, redevelopment of the Willowick Golf Course will be the single-biggest financial windfall for both cities,” said Jones. “Furthermore, the process will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show what collaborative government agencies – including Garden Grove, Santa Ana, OCTA [Orange County Transportation Authority] and the County of Orange are capable of [by] putting our great minds together.”

In the course of the speech, Jones touched on many issues and ideas, but the points that drew the most applause included naming several of the first clients to open in the SteelCraft urban eatery planned for the downtown area, the naming of one of the hotel operators for the Site C on Harbor Boulevard, and news about the “rusty skeleton” looming over Garden Grove Boulevard.

  • SteelCraft will feature Beachwood Brewing (craft beer), Dark Horse (coffee roasters), The Nest (breakfast all day), Renegade Taco (craft fusion tacos), Urban Pie (wood-burn pizza and Italian food), Cauldron Ice Cream (liquid hydrogen ice cream made to order) and Honey and Butter (“famous for their creature cookies”). March 5 is the date for groundbreaking,
  • Le Meridien, an upscale luxury hotel, will be one of three hotels to be constructed on a 4.3-acre site south of the Target Department store on Harbor Street near Chapman Avenue.
  • The half-built “skeleton” will finally be completed after more than a decade, and become a mixed use project with 400 senior citizen housing units above 12,000 square feet of retail and commercial uses.

For those on the west side of the city, Jones announced that a center on Valley View Street will get a facelift with a renovation and expansion of the Four Star Cinema and perhaps two new restaurants.

As part of the city’s efforts to re-brand itself and spruce up its image, Jones spoke of redesigning the city logo and changing the municipal theme color from blue to green.

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