Festival, fire service and SteelCraft

THE 2018 STRAWBERRY Festival had a good year financially as well as historically (Orange County Tribune photo).

The 60th annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival saluted the event’s history, but made some history of its own. According to Scott Weimer, president of the Strawberry Festival Association, the four-day event had the second-highest income in the six decades of the Memorial Day weekend extravaganza.

That’s good news for non-profit and civic organizations and agencies, because the SFA donates most of its net profit to local charities and other good causes across Garden Grove.

There were also no major public safety incidents and the weather was friendly, so the just-finished festival was indeed one for the record books.

SteelCraft is on its way

If you’ve been staring at the piece of vacant land on Euclid Street in Garden Grove between Acacia Parkway and Garden Grove Boulevard, wondering when you might see some progress toward the much-anticipated SteelCraft urban eatery project, you might not have to wait much longer.

STEELCRAFT is scheduled to open on Euclid Street in Garden Grove in 2018.

According to Councilwoman Stephanie Klopfenstein (District 5), passersby should start viewing some activity there in June. But don’t expect to see the two-story development built of repurposed steel shipping containers to begin rising next week.

The “buildings” – which will house everything from a pizza place to a craft beer brewery – are assembled off-site, according to Klopfenstein and then attached to the underground utility connections.

Estimated opening? The original target was fall 2018. Could well be.

Fire authority a potentially hot issue

Garden Grove is considering dropping its fire department and instead joining the Orange County Fire Authority, which provides service to 23 cities, including Cypress, Stanton, Santa Ana and Westminster.

The reason for the change would be for financial reasons; Garden Grove is running a deficit and the move to the OCFA could save the city $2.5 million a year. Firefighters also support the move because it might provide better benefits and opportunities for promotion.

But such a change might not be without its complications.  The GGFD is a local institution reaching back to 1926. Local control is lost, as the city would have only one vote on the OCFA board.

But there’s more to the story. Stanton, for example, which contracts with the county for police and fire service complained a few years ago that it could not afford the rising costs of police service and was able to renegotiate the terms of its contract.

More recently, the City of Irvine, unhappy with its share of the costs, has reported its intentions to withdraw from the OCFA as of 2020. If that happens, it will leave a big hole not only in the authority’s budget but also in its coverage area, as 11 of the agency’s fire stations are located inside Irvine.

Of course, there’s a lot more to the situation and if you can parse the language, the Orange County Grand Jury has a report on this issue at


Usually Reliable Sources appears every other week, usually on Wednesdays.



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