Temecula celebrates 30 years of cityhood

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People gather for Temecula’s 30th anniversary of cityhood celebration at the Temecula Civic Center, Dec. 1. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

According to one of Temecula’s first city council members, everything went according to plan – that’s why Peg Moore was excited to be in attendance at the city’s 30th Anniversary Community Celebration Sunday, Dec. 1, at Temecula City Hall.

“We had a vision for it, back then,” Moore said. “It has all fallen into place.”

Moore was there with hundreds of residents from the community, city staff and dignitaries to celebrate hitting the three-decade mark of cityhood.

“It’s just as exciting as it is living in Temecula,” Moore said.

She was excited to see a performance by recent “America’s Got Talent” winner Kodi Lee and the Midnight Satellites who performed two sets during the event that featured free hot dogs and hamburgers as well as vendor booths from the city and local organizations.

Master of Ceremonies Timmy Daniels welcomed the crowd and introduced Mayor Mike Naggar who gave the crowd a little history about the city and talked about how far the city has come since 1989.

“Temecula’s been blessed because, throughout her 30-year history, we’ve had only 17 council members,” Naggar said. “I think part of our success as a city is we’ve had a great deal of continuity.”

One of the council members, Maryann Edwards, couldn’t help but reflect on her 31 years as a resident.

“Looking back I can’t believe it’s been 30 years but then all you need to do is drive around the city and compare it to what it was 31 years ago when we were here,” Edwards said. “Margarita didn’t go through, there was one stoplight. The Duck Pond had a stop sign right there at Rancho Cal and Ynez, and it was always crooked because there was a mud puddle right there because the Duck Pond had no banks or walls and the water used to spill out onto the street.

“It’s just amazing how far we’ve come and to grow so quickly and according to the general plan,” she said.

Longtime Temecula city manager, Shawn Nelson, was also on hand to celebrate.

“I actually started working 10 months after the city incorporated,” Nelson said. “We had one park. It’s amazing when you look back on what was accomplished, and we did have good leadership on the city council and we had a great group of people that worked at the city and we had continuity for many years.

“If you can keep a team together and everybody’s going in the same direction, you can get a lot done, he said. “I feel a lot of pride and joy with what was accomplished, and I am just amazed that I was able to be a part of it. I am very grateful.”

Naggar also praised the citizens for helping Temecula get to where it is today.

“I say citizens, and that doesn’t sound personal enough,” Naggar said. “We’re the type of city, and you know this to be true, you may go to the supermarket and end up talking to your child’s soccer coach for a half an hour in the produce section. Am I telling it like it is? That’s the type of city we are. You may see your child’s teacher or your buddy or your next-door neighbor, and time flies because we’re that type of city. Our city is giving, loving, kind; we’re a family-first city.”

Naggar also gave some advice on how Temecula should be treated over the next 30 years.

“We treat her just like the first 30,” he said. “If you love her, if you treat her unselfishly, this city will give back 10-fold. Not the people, but this living, breathing city; that’s a family city. The culture that all of us in this town have created. If you give to her, she’ll give back. Could somebody tell me ‘Amen?’”

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.