Positive ‘San Jacinto State of City’ reported by Mayor Russ Utz

San Jacinto Mayor Russ Utz paints a bright picture of his city’s progress during his term of office at the State of the City Address. Tony Ault photo

San Jacinto Mayor Russ Utz praised the city staff and manager for the city’s recent growth in retail development and creating an environment more attractive to businesses and residents during the past year.

His message to residents and the retail and commercial community came during the 2019 State of the City address Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Soboba Casino Resort Event Center.

He said since he had become mayor a series of major retail stores, restaurants, have been opened and many road improvements had taken place. He thanked City Manager Rob Johnson, his staff, members of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians and the residents for forwarding the goals set out by the city council when his mayoral term began.

“One of the main goals I had when I became mayor was to make sure the council and the staff were on the same page,” Utz said.

He explained the council outlined 10 goals in late 2018 with most being attained, and others continuing to make progress as San Jacinto became the third fastest growing city in Riverside County.

San Jacinto has 749 new homes.

With new families still moving in, he said the average age of the residents is now just over 31 years, which is very young by other city standards.

“We believe that San Jacinto is the community that families, business and job creators want to invest in. We’ve created a pleasant, development activity, opened our arms and welcomed them and set out a recruitment plan using our ‘Go San Jacinto’ battle cry to create a lifestyle worth living in San Jacinto,” Utz said.

He said one of the main goals for the year was for the city to improve its relationship with the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians.

“We have made amazing strives to amend those fences and tear down those fences and to share the yard, so to speak,” Utz said.

A survey of where San Jacinto residents shop was made during his term in office, Utz said, and found that most of the city’s shoppers go outside of the city to shop to the tune of more than $500 million.

As such, the city seeks more retail businesses.

“We have a need, a desire and fuel for the engine for retail and restaurants here in town, and that’s why we are pushing so hard,” he said, and the city now has that opportunity. “We’re really in the 21st century in the city of San Jacinto now, with technology advances and the staff engaged in social media with new Facebook page and website.”

In conclusion, Utz said, “With our young family population significant and growing, the city has a great future and energized age group ready to enjoy the benefits of living in a beautiful area. Our challenge is to develop our shopping and amenities and restaurants, while still creating destination places that will connect to the beautiful casino resort to meet the ever growing demand from residents. Our community residents deserve places to go and things to do.”

New Bank of Hemet is coming to town.

As he was concluding his remarks, Johnson said from below to stage, “I have breaking news,” and he handed the mayor an envelope.

“Breaking news?” Utz replied, opening the envelope.

“Banking news. This is a site improvement plan for a new Bank of Hemet building across from the post office (on Esplanade Avenue). Right there next to the theater that has been boarded up and fenced for quite awhile, that is being redeveloped into a Bank of Hemet and at least one restaurant. Fantastic!” he said to applause from the guests. “We’ve got more. It’s Christmas! Another site plan. Wow! One hundred and twenty thousand square feet of retail development at State and Ramona, that empty field,” Utz said, with more whoops and hollers coming from the crowd.

He said the development would probably be coming in the next year, once it works its way through planning. He questioned how many jobs might that be.

“Four hundred jobs? WOW!” he shouted.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.