State of the City Address

State of the City Address

Presented by:
The Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce and the City of Elk Grove

Featuring Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen
March 25, 2022
12:30pm to 1:30pm

The Center at District56, 8230 Civic Center Drive, Suite #100

"A Body in Motion"

Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen

Good afternoon. Thank you for that warm introduction. I'm Bobbie Singh-Allen and I am proud to serve as Elk Grove's Mayor. Thank you to the Chamber Board and staff for your continued work to support our local businesses; Thank you to my City Council colleagues and City staff who join me in so passionately serving our City every day; and Most importantly, thanks to all of you who are attending and tuning in online who want to know more about the state of our city.

Today is a day to come together...
Reflect on our progress...
And look forward to what is coming next.
I'm so grateful that we can be together in person.
It has been far too long since we've connected like this.
And I am grateful that we have moved beyond the isolation associated with the pandemic and have returned to more in-person events and celebrations.
2022 is another year that puts our health at the forefront.
Keeping ourselves and our families healthy and safe remains a top priority.
The health of our city is equally important.

Like all bodies, our city functions best with fresh air, good nutrition, and regular exercise.
We are blessed to live in a city that has:

  • Hands that build and serve;
  • A heart for community; and
  • An eye to the future

In school we were taught Sir Isaac Newton's first law of motion that "a body in motion, stays in motion and a body at rest, stays at rest."

Elk Grove, as a body, continues moving toward a better quality of life for all residents and we are poised to make even more progress in the coming year.

Hands that Build and Serve

If you've spent any time travelling around the city over the past year, you've seen the construction. There is absolutely no slowdown in local development and our economy.
New retail, entertainment, dining and housing projects have been in progress all over the city.
Here at District56, The Preserve opened last November providing 28 acres of new open space and ways to connect with nature.
Expanded parking supports more visitors and a solar project in the final stages of completion will soon allow this facility to support its own energy use and create a net zero impact on our environment.
Traveling across the southern part of town has gotten a little easier too.
Completion of two key segments of the Capital Southeast Connector has widened lanes, improved drainage and added much needed infrastructure for service to developing areas on Kammerer and Grant Line Roads.
Approaching Highway 99 at Grant Line Road, it's hard to miss the construction at Sky River Casino. With more than 1,500 skilled workers involved, things are getting done in record time. According to Chairman Tarango, construction is ahead of schedule and their first phase is expected to open by the end of this year.
I am excited for what this project will bring to the Tribe and to our community.
East of the casino site, construction has also started on Kubota Tractor Corporation's Western Distribution Center. This $60 million dollar project will generate more than 125 permanent jobs and is already generating more than 400 temporary construction jobs.
And that is just the start for this area.
Kubota's investment in our community will be the catalyst for attracting other companies to the city's newly annexed industrial park.
But the swinging of hammers and the sounds of construction are not just heard in our new growth areas.
Last summer, we celebrated the reopening of the Old Town Plaza and Railroad Street after a $12 million dollar "glow up." In November, that same area hosted a homecoming parade for our NASCAR Cup Champion, Kyle Larson, and before the year ended, we toasted the opening of Dust Bowl Brewing Company.
Big things are happening in Old Town, and we are proud to partner with people like D&S Development and our small business community to support the continued evolution of this historic area.
From Old Town to infill, development in our city is providing new places to dine, shop, work, and play. And for a growing number of newcomers... it's providing a place to call home. 563 new single-family homes and 109 new apartments were constructed last year and efforts to diversify our housing options are gaining ground.
New market rate bungalows will be coming to Old Town, more senior living communities are coming online, and affordable housing projects are on the rise.
These are important steps toward ensuring a mix of housing options so people of all ages, incomes, and stages in life have the chance to make, or keep, Elk Grove as their home.
This work means our hands are working harder than ever to make a difference in our quality of life.
But what about our heart?

A Heart for Community

For a city as big as we are, Elk Grove manages to maintain a lot of small town charm.
Our community has a big heart.
Nowhere was that more evident than in the days following the tragic death of Officer Ty Lenehan.
From the candlelight the the outpouring of cards and messages, Elk Grove showed up in the moments that our Police Department, and Ty's family, needed it most.
I am so very proud to be part of a city that cares so deeply for its first responders.
And I'm just as proud of our Police Department who demonstrate their commitment to serving this community every day.
As we say goodbye and thanks to our retiring Chief Timothy Albright, we look forward to working with Chief Bobby Davis to support the work of our officers, to keep our community safe, and to ensure that we are a city welcome to all.
Many assume that our growth is all part of the great migration from the Bay Area, but that's not the case for everyone.
Refugees from the Ukraine and Afghanistan have suffered the loss of their homes, their livelihoods, their possessions and their family members.
I continue to watch in horror as hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian people are forced out of their country by unprovoked Russian attacks.
Last summer, I began working with regional resettlement agencies supporting Afghan families coming to Elk Grove. As those displaced from the Ukraine find their way to our region, I hope we can do the same to support them.
Elk Grove stands in solidarity with the people of the Ukraine and Afghanistan. As a region, I believe that we must do all that we can to assist these families to adjust and succeed in the US.
Pastor and author Glenn C. Stewart once said "The act of giving is the heart of happiness and community."
Giving and serving are at the heart of the work they do at the Elk Grove Food Bank. Since the start of the pandemic, this organization has experienced an overwhelming increase in the need for their services.
The City has supported this work with more than $800,000 in funding since 2020, including $300,000 for improvements to their new home on Kent Street. This new space offers more room and cold storage to expand the goods and services available to those in need.
Providing common essentials, like food, fills a critical need, but it may not be enough for everyone.
Looking at the spring blossoms makes colder temperatures almost a memory, but a new collaboration this year offered many unsheltered residents a warm place to sleep this past winter.
The Overnight Warming Location Cooperative, or OWL program, was launched in November and has provided shelter to nearly 200 people over the 25 nights it's been activated.
Our heart for helping others showed up in this program by breaking away from the county's guidelines and enacting changes that opened these facilities more often this winter. As we prepare for the warmer days of summer, we'll continue to work with our partners at Elk Grove HART, Cosumnes Fire, and our faith-based organizations to provide services and shelter from extreme weather conditions. But addressing the long-term solution to homelessness is a statewide problem that will take much more time.
Last summer we opened our third transitional house for the homeless. The Moon Creek House offers families up to twelve months of assistance with mentoring and support services on their journey toward more stable living conditions.
More than 80% of residents who have graduated from Elk Grove's transitional housing program have secured permanent housing and we expect that families at Moon Creek will experience the same kind of success we have seen at the Grace and Meadow Houses. Projects like our transitional housing program can make a big difference for people who are looking for help. However, those who struggle with mental illness or drug and alcohol dependencies may not be asking for help.
The City Council recently created a Homelessness Task Force. Members will be working with our Police Department and local and regional organizations like Elk Grove HART and our Homeless Navigator to explore how we can do more to address the root causes of homelessness and make a larger local impact on this problem. Resources from the American Rescue Plan Act will help us by providing $2 million dollars toward funding flexible homeless solutions and other needs identified by the task force's work. That same source will allow us to do more to support our business and non-profit communities who are still recovering from the pandemic.
When I canvassed the city earlier this year, I heard from so many of our local business owners.
They were down...but not out.
And with a little help, they could overcome the hardships that came their way.
The City is working hard to distribute $4 million in ARPA funds to support Elk Grove businesses and an additional $2 million to non-profits.
A second business grant application cycle closed last week and we are optimistic that these funds will help Elk Grove businesses come back even stronger.
But having a heart for business also means investing in the dreams of our entrepreneurs. Through the Startup Incentive Program, we've fostered the growth of companies like Innogrove, Clockwork Logistics Solutions, and Eyerate to build on the success started in Elk Grove garages and kitchen tables.
As we all know, there is strength in diversity and our local economy is strongest when it's as diverse as the community it serves.

An Eye to the Future

Our City works best when its hands and its heart are guided with eyes that are focused on the future.
We've come a long way in a year, but much of our progress started as a vision more than a decade ago.
In 2010, we were a city of 153,000. The 2020 Census tells us we've grown by more than 15%. And we're continuing to grow.
We know that bigger doesn't always mean better, but some recent surveys suggest we're on the right track.
The 2021 National Community Survey documented the opinions of hundreds of Elk Grove residents last fall.
Roughly three quarters of those who responded praised the level of safety in Elk Grove.
88% percent of those surveyed considered Elk Grove an excellent place to live and 85% would recommend living in Elk Grove to someone who asks.
Compared to other cities in California and the country, Elk Grove ranked in the 90th percentile for attracting people from diverse backgrounds.
Of course, it wasn't all good news. But some answers supported continued work on the issues that we know need attention, like:

  • Homelessness
  • Affordability and housing options; and
  • Traffic congestion

We will be partnering with Cosumnes CSD to launch a series of meetings this spring to solicit even more feedback on community priorities and how we can maintain our quality of life in Elk Grove.
In the coming year, we'll begin to activate our Connected Elk Grove plan to harness the power of technology and data to engage with residents and present information that will help inform this and future City Councils.
Engagement with local government is important and that includes contributing to the creation of local voting districts. As we do after every Census, the City is re-drawing our Council districts to ensure that each part of our community has fair and balanced representation for the future.
A new map was adopted earlier this week that will disperse new growth more evenly across the four Council districts before the 2022 election. Similar efforts have happened at the state level that have resulted in changes in our congressional representation.
I was pleased to join a group that recently led Congresswoman Doris Matsui on a tour of our city. It is expected that she will be the congressional representative for Elk Grove in 2023.
She was impressed with how much our city has grown and how much we have accomplished in such a short time.
But of course...we are a city with big dreams and eyes focused on the future.
Part of that future will include a new library in Old Town. Design work is underway to transform the former Rite Aid building at Waterman and Elk Grove Blvd. into a library that will serve the needs of residents for decades to come.
If grants are secured and everything goes smoothly, that facility could open in 2025.
We're also wondering if a new zoo could be in our future.
A new zoo could be an important economic driver in our city providing up to one million annual visitors and as many as 250 jobs. But perhaps more importantly, a new zoo has the potential to generate a lasting impact for our children and regional wildlife conservation.
That's why earlier this week, the Council unanimously voted in favor of extending our agreement with the Sacramento Zoological Society to continue our work toward the development of a modern zoological park in Elk Grove.
We're also looking at how people would get to the zoo and how we travel about the city.
Projects like the Capital Southeast Connector will reduce traffic congestion by connecting us to Interstate 5 and providing an alternative that bypasses downtown to get as far as El Dorado Hills.
But cars won't necessarily be the only way to travel in our future.
A train station that provides ACE train and Amtrak service between the Bay Area and Sacramento could be constructed in Elk Grove as early as 2025.
And we're continuing to talk with our partners at SacRT about extending Light Rail service into Elk Grove.
We'll continue to pursue development of more amenities in Elk Grove including Project Elevate, a 20-acre mixed use development project that would add new places to shop, dine, play, and live. And we'll fine tune our vision for the Kammerer Road Corridor to support development that encourages a balance of new jobs and lifestyle amenities.

Elk Grove is a body in motion that will continue to move toward a brighter future for today's residents and future generations.
Our people are the momentum for continued growth, change, and influence.
Our diversity and our unity are sources of strength that propel us forward.
The State of our City is strong because we are committed to a better tomorrow for Elk Grove.
I am proud to serve as your Mayor and I welcome the opportunity to work with you to make our community the very best that it can be.
Thank you once again to the Chamber Board and staff for hosting today's event and to all of you for your commitment to a better Elk Grove.