State Of The City: Anaheim Mayor Pledges $250 Million Neighborhood Investment
By: Alicia Robinson, Orange County Register
Date: March 5, 2019
“In Harry Sidhu’s first big speech, he announced residents’ committees that will vet community needs and a task force to consider visitor transit options.
Anaheim will pump as much as $250 million over 10 years into roads, public safety and other infrastructure needs of its neighborhoods, with a $20 million commitment for the 2019-20 fiscal year, Mayor Harry Sidhu said Tuesday, March 5.
The pledge came in Sidhu’s first State of the City address, given to about 860 people at the City National Grove of Anaheim and sponsored by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce.
To figure out how the money would be best spent, Sidhu is joining and expanding a chamber initiative called “Anaheim First,” which will create resident commissions in each of the city’s six voting districts. The commissions will discuss neighborhood needs, vet project ideas and make recommendations to the City Council.
A $20 million chunk planned for fiscal 2019-20 would come from existing city funds, state transportation money and borrowing against an over-funded reserve, according to city information. Beyond that, Sidhu said, resources are expected to come from “new city revenue” generated by economic development, such as the draw to the resort area that Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening is expected to have, and two luxury hotels set to open in 2020.
“Investing in our neighborhoods cannot be a vague promise,” Sidhu said. “It must be a real commitment. And from today forward, it will be.”
…Sidhu’s other big initiative of the speech was a task force to look at transit options to move people between the Anaheim Resort District’s theme parks, hotels and convention center, and the Platinum Triangle, home to the Honda Center, Angel Stadium and eventually, new stores, restaurants and entertainment venues.
As potential ideas to explore, Sidhu named Tesla founder Elon Musk’s plan for underground tunnel transit, an Uber project to offer on-demand drone flights, and Disney’s Skyliner, a gondola system to traverse Walt Disney World Resort.
“Transportation and mobility connections continue to evolve,” Sidhu said. “It is time we update our thinking and our knowledge on all the options.“