Hesperia reflects on State of the City
HESPERIA • Growth, progress and construction were the common themes during the city of Hesperia’s annual State of the City Address on Monday.
“This is a year when many projects will come to fruition, and many more will start,” Mayor Russ Blewett told a full audience at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel.
The address included lunch and a video presentation of a number of projects the city hopes to complete within the next few years.
The most anticipated project is the Ranchero Road Undercrossing. The $26 million project will connect east and west Ranchero Road at the railroad tracks alleviating traffic throughout the city and providing better access to Apple Valley for commuters. Blewett said approximately $750,000 will be saved in gas for buses in the Hesperia Unified School District. Under construction since August 2010, the underpass is projected to be operational in summer 2013.
Another anticipated project is the interchange where Ranchero Road meets Interstate 15. The $60 million interchange is the result of Hesperia partnering with the San Bernadino Associated Governments. It will be the first major retail location for travelers coming up the Cajon Pass and will open 17 miles of undeveloped freeway corridor in Hesperia for retail uses and auto sales. An influx of new businesses along the corridor is expected, as Hesperia is one of the 10 least expensive cities in California in which to do business, according to the national 2011 Cost of Doing Business survey. Groundbreaking is set for early 2013 and the interchange should be open in summer 2014.
A number of new and remodeled retail stores are expected to increase sales tax revenue later this year, as a Walmart Supercenter will be opening this fall along Main Street. The 190,000-square-foot facility will create over 300 new jobs. A Blue Ribbon Stater Bros. renovation at the site of the former Albertsons in the Midtown Square Shopping Center will also open this fall. At 56,000 square feet, it will be the largest Stater Bros. in the Inland Empire.
Last fiscal year, the city took in $5.67 million in sales tax revenue. Officials estimate with the new stores that it will increase to $6.42 million over the next fiscal year.
Hesperia Fire Station 301 on 11th Avenue will be completely demolished and rebuilt with $4.7 million in development impact fees and remaining redevelopment funds. The new station will be 12,000 square feet and will include six vehicle bays, day quarters for on-duty crews and a hose drying tower. The project will begin in October and is expected to be finished in October 2013.
Expect more bike lanes and walking paths, as Hesperia received $1.85 million in grant funding in 2011 for bike lanes along Sequoia Avenue, which will be completed this fall, and pedestrian and bicycle paseos along Willow Avenue and 8th Avenue, both with 2013 completion dates. With these three new paths, there will be over 40 miles of bicycle paths constructed since 2006, with nearly three of those miles being joint pedestrian and bicycle paths that are separated from traffic and include safety lighting.
The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority has completed design work on a proposed $27.1 million recycled water facility that will preserve 2 million gallons of fresh water daily. The project will begin once funding is secured.