July 3, 2013

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07/03/13

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

In accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, we have been advised that Palomar Health will permanently close the Palomar Continuing Care Center located at 1817 Avenida del Diablo on or about October 31.  This will affect a total of 122 employees.  The effective date of the first separation is September 1, 2013 and then weekly.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT UPDATES

Planning:

  • We received a letter of support from Congressman Hunter for our TIGER grant application for Citracado Parkway.
  • The 2013 Inventory of Parcels and Values for the City (prepared by the County Assessor) is attached. All cities and the County showed an increase in assessed value. The assessed value in Escondido increased 2.69%, which is above the change for the unincorporated areas, but below the combined increase for all the cities (3.72%) and the total County increase of 3.46%.

Housing:

  • We were notified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) that our NOFA grant did not receive funding. They received 92 applications for $93M and our application did not score high enough. The grant would have funded reinstatement of the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program for neighborhood improvement. Staff will continue to look for other funding opportunities for this program.

Building:

  • The Contempo project’s first building is nearing final inspection with the 2nd building starting the unground utilities and foundation. Walmart has received electrical meter releases and is working towards a final inspection.  The Cheese Cake Factory has received underground and partial foundation inspections.
  • The monthly Building Permit Activity Report for June is attached.

Code Enforcement:

  • A transient camp was found on City property at 620 N. Ash (at Washington). Code Enforcement, Public Works and the Police Department are working together to get the site cleaned up and to provide some extra patrol.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

Juniper Street Traffic Calming Plan:

The contractor has completed 95% of the installation of the striping and signage plan. The remaining striping details will be placed in the next few days.

Grape Street Improvements: Washington Street to Mission Avenue

City Staff provided survey control along the centerline of Grape Street in preparation of SDG&E start of construction. The gas main must be relocated prior to the start of roadway construction. SDG&E is set to begin construction on July 15. 

Private Development

Wal-Mart:

City Staff has received the first redesign submittal for the median island at Ash Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Staff comments will be added to the plan and sent to Caltrans for final approval. The remaining section of the onsite parking lot was paved this past Saturday.

Lincoln Avenue @ Midway Drive Gas Main Replacement and Testing Station:

The contractor is removing the steel traffic plate and base paving the new gas main trench. They are also removing the temporary 12’ gas main that was constructed as part of the project. This trench will also be backfilled and permanently hot patched with hot mix asphalt.

Cox Communication Downtown Systems Upgrade: Phase 2, 3 and 4

The contractor is placing vaults along the alley between Broadway Avenue and Maple Street north of Grand Avenue. In Phase 3 they are placing conduits in the alley between Maple Street and Broadway Avenue south of Grand Avenue. In Phase 4 they are pot holing utilities in preparation to excavation. This work is located in the alley between Maple Street and Escondido Boulevard south of Grand Avenue.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Police:

  • On Friday, June 28, members of the PD participated in the 4th Annual COPS For Kids Charity Golf Tournament.  This was held at the Vineyard Golf Course.  Proceeds went to the Explorer Program.
  • On Saturday, June 29, at 9 AM, the Police Department participated in the 3rd annual “I Love My City” Peace March.  It started at Grape Day Park and finished at Washington Park.
  • The new Ford Police Interceptor SUV’s have arrived and are getting ready to be outfitted for use in the field.  This is an entirely new platform for our Patrol Bureau.  When we get them completed PD will work on getting a story out to local media.  They will also post on Facebook (current “likes” are over 800).
  • Grape Day Park Update
    The Police Department continues its enforcement details several times a day in the park and surrounding areas.  Since the start of the increased focus, the police department has conducted 743 extra patrols in the park, 133 field interviews, 73 citations and 73 arrests.

    On Monday, an editorial in the San Diego Union touted the amazing transformation of the park.  The text of the article is below.  The task force members are excited to see the “new” park showcased at this week’s 4th of July event, and hope that more families see it as a recreation destination.

    The past week has been very quiet.  EPD officers have stepped up enforcement at the Signature Plaza based on the increased reports of teens violating the no skateboarding and bicycling signage.  They are working with security to be more effective in their enforcement.

    Officers continue to test the new phone application to view the Grape Day and Maple Plaza videos. The application has been useful for officers to view the video from nearby locations.  At this time there have been no citations or arrests made in connection with the new technology.

    CCAE- reported no vandalism or graffiti for the past three weeks.

    No updates from CCAE, History Center or Boys and Girls Club.

    Keith Callison and his group continue the clean-up efforts on the bike path and Grand Ave. and other areas they come across.  

    The next Task Force Meeting will be Tuesday July 16, 2013. 

Text of Editorial in San Diego Union Tribune:

Grape Day Park gets its luster back

Escondido has always had a jewel in its Grape Day Park, which dates back to the 1800s. Few cities can boast of a municipal park in a traditional downtown location. The 23-acre park borders City Hall and the California Center for the Arts. It’s home to a cool grapevine play structure, the Escondido History Center, a historic train depot and train car and a veterans memorial.

But the jewel was heavily tarnished. It had become a hangout for the homeless and assorted riffraff. Few families wanted to go there. That is, until city officials undertook a focused effort last fall to restore the park. Police increased patrols. A bathroom that provided a haven for loiterers was closed. Foliage was trimmed to reduce hiding places.

The results are startling. On a recent Sunday afternoon, a family played kickball in the center of the park while another family played soccer nearby. A baton team practiced its routines by the train depot. On one side of the park, a family took group photographs. And a mom, dad and kids sat down for a picnic.

Now that’s what a park is for.