Kris Murray: Anaheim Investment Races Westward

An op-ed by Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray, exclusively for AnaheimBlog:

Anaheim Investment Races Westward

By Kris Murray, Council Member, City of Anaheim

When we focus on economic development in Anaheim, we have a proud tradition of becoming like a pit crew at a race track. Our goal is to build and maintain an economic engine for success, and our residents and neighborhoods win when quality jobs, city revenue and the services it funds, and dynamic retail and commercial centers cross the finish line. This formula has proven successful for decades since city leaders first invested in Angel Stadium, Anaheim Convention Center, Honda Center, Anaheim Resort and most recently, the downtown Packing House district.

At the last city council meeting on March 22nd, I proposed a new Economic Development Zone for West Anaheim. My plan calls for an incentive program aimed at attracting new retail and restaurants, as well as commercial developments, to generate quality jobs in West Anaheim. Specifically, I called for the hiring of an economic development consultant to study successful, local incentive programs that would complement the history, geography and demographics of West Anaheim, with the goal of delivering and adopting a program tailored for West Anaheim by July 12, 2016.

As one of the oldest areas of the city and home to more than a third of the city’s population, West Anaheim is challenged by an abundance of aging, underutilized commercial centers and residential motels. The presence of motels and vacant properties contributes to the area’s high crime rate. West Anaheim has struggled for years to attract quality retail and commercial investors, especially in the wake of the elimination of redevelopment. Residents from West Anaheim regularly attend city council meetings, voicing their concerns over the community’s quality of life and pleading for new shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

Essentially, the spotlight has not been on West Anaheim, and it is time for the city to commit its resources to incentivize quality economic development, similar to our city’s success with the Packing House district. West Anaheim residents deserve action.

In addition to this proposed economic development program, the city is taking other substantive steps to improve the quality of life for West Anaheim residents. The city is currently developing a Beach Boulevard Specific Plan to guide future public and private investment in support of the identified community goals. This process involves significant community involvement from residents and business leaders who formed a Community Advisory Committee. With the successful implementation of the city’s Quality Rental Housing program, a program that I championed, more than 20,000 rental units in West Anaheim have been upgraded and improved over the past year. In addition to applying stringent quality rental housing standards to improve living conditions, the city is looking at ways to replace or repurpose many of the substandard motels in West Anaheim and to aggressively enforce health and safety codes for those that will remain in business.

There are significant challenges facing West Anaheim, and they won’t be solved overnight. That being said, I’m confident that by working together with residents, businesses and community leaders and creating an environment for private investment to return to West Anaheim, we can build an engine of success from which all residents in West Anaheim will benefit.

4 comments

  1. Sick of Politics

    Amen! So glad to see the city investing resources in West Anaheim. It is desperately needed. I hope that ALL of council will support the necessary ordinances to rid Beach Blvd of the armpit motels. Thank you Council Woman Murray!

  2. Thank you for keeping the focus on West Anaheim. We, the community here in west Anaheim have worked really hard to prove it is our turn to be shown the same respect. And we appreciate it. The motels on Beach blvd were originally ok when built, but absolutely the source of problems now. We want our community back. We want west Anaheim safe, fun, with places to shop, dine and walk to. We want the attention the Packing House area got, the areas near Disneyland are getting. We deserve it. When I think of growing up here, this isn’t the same place now, and so many people moved out, some of us still believe…..so thank you for trying. Thank you.

  3. Phyllis Greenberg

    I read with optimism Council Member Murray’s article in the Anaheim Blog and I support her ideas.
    In particular the following ideas give me hope that we can rebuild the commercial district to serve the needs of the West Anaheim residents.
    These ideas will breath new economic opportunities and upgrade all of West Anaheim and Anaheim at large:
    —“a new Economic Development Zone for West Anaheim”
    —“hiring of an economic development consultant to study successful, local incentive programs that would complement the history, geography and demographics of West Anaheim, with the goal of delivering and adopting a program tailored for West Anaheim by July 12, 2016.”
    —“looking at ways to replace or repurpose many of the substandard motels in West Anaheim”
    —“to aggressively enforce health and safety codes for those that will remain in business”

  4. I share Phyllis’s optimism upon reading this article. A strong economic development policy coupled with polices that will drive out the blighted and crime ridden motels is exactly what is needed in this area. I am very pleased to see Council Woman Murray expending the effort to improve the quality of life for West Anaheim residents. I hope that all of City Council will join this endeavor and support the above outlined policies.

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