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‘Year of Decision’ on Cemex mine, city manager says of 2013

Posted: January 15, 2013 6:36 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2013 6:36 p.m.

The year 2013 is the “year of decision” for the giant open-pit gravel mine planned for Canyon Country, the Santa Clarita city manager said Tuesday during a luncheon address to the Valley Industrial Association.

The Cemex mine, which proposes to haul 56 million tons of concrete aggregates out of Soledad Canyon, is a huge issue for the Santa Clarita Valley from both air-quality and traffic points of view, City Manager Ken Striplin said.

A great deal of time, money and effort have been expended by the city to strike a deal that would avoid placing the mining project in the Santa Clarita Valley, he said during a speech at the Valencia Country Club.

Striplin also pledged to continue efforts to see that the Whittaker-Bermite property is cleaned up. The nearly 1,000-acre site in the middle of Santa Clarita is tainted with perchlorate and other pollutants after decades of use as a munitions manufacturing plant.

And Santa Clarita will continue to focus on public works that benefit local residents, Striplin said.

Of the city’s current $224 million fiscal-year budget, $65 million goes to capital improvements, he said.

One such project involves widening Golden Valley Road at Highway 14. The project, which is expected to take about two years, will improve traffic flow around the freeway and to the Plaza at Golden Valley retail center across the freeway from most of Santa Clarita, said Striplin, who recently took over the city manager’s office from longtime City Manager Ken Pulskamp.

Funds are also allotted for ongoing street beautification projects around Santa Clarita, Striplin said.

The city is breaking ground on a new park-and-ride on McBean Parkway to provide parking spaces for Westside commuters who have been without a place to leave their cars when carpooling to work outside the city.

And an $8 million construction project begins this summer to expand the McBean Parkway bridge over the Santa Clara River near the Valencia post office. That will provide eight total lanes for traffic as well as bike lanes.

“The city is also spending $8 million on roadway projects to ensure roads remain smooth and pothole-free,” Striplin said.

Saying community engagement has been a hallmark of Santa Clarita, Striplin encouraged residents to remain involved.

“For the last four to five years the economy was in a tough spot,” he said. “Santa Clarita not only survived — it thrived.”



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