By Noel Smith
The first challenge were the Winter Storms of 2017. Damage to our county’s local roads and infrastructure added up to $130 million causing some of the most significant physical and financial challenges in our county since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. The Roads that sustained damage included Highways 9, 17 and 35, Valencia, Bear Creek, Glenwood, Zayante, Soquel-San Jose roads and Smith Grade.
Work is continuing and has made significant progress.
Next was the transition in the Scotts Valley Police Department. Chief Steve Walpole replaced retiring Chief John Weiss at the end of 2016. Walpole started his career with SVPD in 2014 after serving sixteen years in law enforcement with the Town of Los Gatos and is a lifelong resident of Scotts Valley. Steve grew up in Scotts Valley and his father, Stephen Walpole, was the Chief of Police for SVPD retiring in 2001.
Weiss had been with the Scotts Valley Police Department for 26 years, serving the last ten as Chief. Weiss said he is staying in Scotts Valley doing the things he loves and has no plans for another “retirement job” in law enforcement. As a professionally trained landscape painter, published writer and bibliophile, Chief Weiss plans to pursue these passions in his retirement.
John Weiss was the 2016 Man of the Year for Scotts Valley while the 2016 Woman of the Year was Elizabeth Walch. Elizabeth served on the Friends of the Santa Cruz Library Board of Directors and started the first Friends of the Library group in Scotts Valley. Elizabeth also helped to raise a quarter of a million dollars for furnishings and technology in our new library. She is a Past President of Scotts Valley Rotary, has served on the Board of the Directors for the Chamber of Commerce and was previously honored as Scotts Valley Woman of the year in 1996.
The Scotts Valley Community Theater Guild working on the coming Performing Arts Center next to the Scotts Valley Public Library at 251 Kings Village Rd, Scotts Valley. 2017 has been an exciting year for the project, which has been in the works since 2013. The Guild was successful in getting a building permit from The City of Scotts Valley, which will enable them to break ground in 2018. Much of the work in demolishing the former roller rink site, preparing it for construction and drawing up plans to submit for permits has been accomplished by scores of volunteers who donated their labor and supplies along with Several professionals who also offered their services and expertise.
Many hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations of lighting equipment, seating, and other necessary fixtures are waiting to be installed. The Guild is grateful for the generous financial gifts and grants they have received that have allowed them to cover the cost of architecture and engineering and to complete the building plans.
The Town Center Project is on hold as the retail economy is in transition and the need for affordable housing grows.
In May 2017, the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation held its first Touch-A-Truck event in Skypark and will return on Sunday, April 29, 2018 (www.TouchaTruckSC.com). Touch-A-Truck is a fun event for kids and their families to explore emergency, construction, agriculture, transportation, and other one-of-a-kind vehicles.
In 2017 the Scotts Valley Chamber celebrated its 60th Anniversary and produced its 18th successful Annual Scotts Valley Art, Wine and Beer Festival
The new Scotts Valley Middle School is scheduled to open for the 2018/2019 school year. The new facilities for this school are the result of many years of planning to finance and to design and build while continuing to educate our children during construction. The SVUSD and the community brought it all together and 2018 will see the results.
Boys & Girls Club of the Valleys is to open and operate a new clubhouse in Scotts Valley called The Joe & Linda Aliberti Clubhouse located at 5060 Scotts Valley Drive. It features a 3,000 sq. foot building, large outside play area, and is within walking distance of Vine Hill Elementary and Scotts Valley Middle School with the goal of opening to serve youth in early 2018.
2017 – Lots of work but 2018 will see the results.
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