The following is a brief update for selected development projects around town:
• 1220-1240 W. La Habra Blvd.: Construction of 32 townhomes on the site of the former Ranch Market. Grading is under way. Footings for the new perimeter wall have been inspected.
• 951 S. Beach Blvd: Construction of 335 apartment homes. All nine buildings are under construction. We look forward to the project’s completion later this year.
• 601 E. Imperial Highway: Construction of a new medical office building by Kaiser Permanente. The building’s mechanical ducts have been inspected. The framing and window installation is under way.
• 201 E. La Habra Blvd.: Plans have been submitted and are under review for the City Ventures project, which involves the construction of 71 new homes on the site of the current City Hall, which is moving across the street.
• 101 W. La Habra Blvd.: Expansion of the La Habra Community Center. The exterior lathe and drywall have been installed.
• 1305 W. Whittier Blvd.: Construction of the new Northgate Market. The framing for the façade has been approved.
To learn more about these and other current or planned development projects, contact the La Habra Community Development Department at 562-383-4100.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED FOR OPERATION SANTA
The new year has started and I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. The city observed the season through Operation Santa, the annual distribution of food and toys to families in need.
The distribution was held Dec. 17 at the La Habra Community Center with about 1,100 families and 1,700 children. There was a variety of games, crafts, bouncers and refreshments and the Mariachi Divas entertained everyone with a live performance in the parking lot.
Santa took time out of his busy schedule to help distribute food and toys, arriving on a Los Angeles County Fire Department truck escorted by officers from the Police Department.
Also, demonstrating precisely why La Habra is known as “A Caring Community,” the Warehouse Church adopted 200 families in need and students from Sonora High School adopted 96 families, providing gifts and food and helping others enjoy a measure of holiday cheer.
To the many volunteers who made Operation Santa run so smoothly, my City Council colleagues and I offer our hearty thanks. Congratulations to Social Services Manager Josie Anderson and her staff for working to ensure Operation Santa was so successful!
LOCAL REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE
I am pleased to note the local real estate market continues to display signs of strength.
Data as of November indicates the median price for single-family homes sold in La Habra during the past year was $565,000, an increase of 7.6 percent compared to the prior year. Likewise, the median price for townhomes and condominiums was up 11.1 percent to $300,000.
The lack of inventory appears to have played a role in keeping prices higher,. The number of single-family homes and townhomes/condos available for sale are down 12 percent and 32.4 percent, respectively.
While the real estate market can experience ups and downs, most pundits and market watchers believe real estate will remain stable for the immediate future. Because property taxes are a major source of revenue that supports municipal operations, this bodes well for La Habra.
CALPERS VOTES TO LOWER EXPECTED INVESTMENT RETURN RATE
On a more serious financial note, late last month the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) board voted to lower the plan’s expected rate of return from investments to 7 percent by 2020, a decision that comes after the fund failed to meet its 7.5 percent target each of the past two years. The move, while unfortunate, was not entirely unexpected, as the $300 billion fund is currently 68 percent funded and recently became cash negative, which means it paid out more in benefits to retirees than it collected in workers’ contributions.
This action will place a significantly larger burden on cities, counties and other local government agencies that make financial contributions to the system. The Finance Department is preparing a detailed analysis of what these changes will mean for the city’s future plan rates and costs to the general fund. To learn more, contact the Finance Department at 562-383-4050.
LA HABRA 5K/10K RUN/WALK
Runners, grab your shoes, stretch those legs, and get ready for the La Habra 5K/10K Run/Walk on March 11.
The course is a semi-challenging 5K loop (the 10K is two laps) that runs through the heart of La Habra. In addition to the 5K/10K Run/Walk, there will also be a 1K Kiddy Run and a 50-yard Diaper Dash for younger runners.
All events will take place at the La Habra Marketplace at Imperial Highway and Beach Boulevard.
Participants can register by contacting the Community Services Department at 562-383-4200 (you can also register on the day of the event beginning at 6 a.m.) or by downloading the race entry form at lahabraca.gov and turning it in at the Community Center.
The cost for the 5K/10K is $30 through March 3 and $35 after that date. The cost for the kids’ runs is $20 through March 3 and $25 thereafter. All runners can pick up their race packets (goody bag, racing bib and commemorative shirt) at the La Habra Red Robin (1631 W. Imperial Highway) between 4 and 7 p.m. on March 10.
The 50-Yard Diaper Dash – open to kids 3-5 years old – will begin at 7:15 a.m. and the Kiddy Run – open to kids 6-9 – will begin at 7:20 a.m. The 5K/10K Run/Walk will start promptly at 7:30 a.m.
If you wish to be a sponsor for the 5K/10K, contact Melissa Flores at 562-383-4209. For more information or to register, visit the La Habra Community Center or call 562-383-4205 during business hours. I look forward to seeing you at the race!
KIDS’ NIGHT OUT
Kids, do you need a break from Mom and Dad? Would you enjoy a night away from parents surrounded by other like-minded young people?
Well then, the city has just the thing for you.
The Community Services Department will host a “Kids’ Night Out” at the Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd., on Feb. 17.
Children ages 4-13 are invited to enjoy an evening overflowing with games, crafts, dinner, popcorn and a movie. Event hours are 6 to 10:30 p.m. and the cost to participate is $15 per child. To learn more, or register your child, call the Community Services Department at 562-383-4200.
HBIC TO HOST “ANTE UP FOR HOPE” FUNDRAISER
Help for Brain Injured Children, a local nonprofit whose mission is to give hope and help to individuals with disabilities and their families, will host a Texas Hold’em charity poker tournament fundraiser March 4.
HBIC is an important part of our community, operating a variety of programs that provide education and vocational training, as well as offer people with developmental disabilities life skill training.
The poker tournament, from 4 to 9 p.m., will take place at HBIC, 981 N. Euclid St. The cost to play is $30 per player with $20 rebuys for additional chips.
The tournament will award the top four players with non-cash prizes. To learn more about HBIC and its programs, or to register for the poker tournament, contact HBIC Executive Director Jason Cecil at 562-694-5655.
James Gomez is a La Habra city councilman. Reach him at 714-738-5926.