|Rick serving lunch at the Fireman's BBQ
Rick's Vision for Murrieta
Quality of Life is, and will be, the City’s highest priority.
To accomplish and maintain that priority, I was a strong proponent of
the Council’s decision to approve five major goals that address: Economic Development; Public Safety;
Services; Infrastructure; and Fiscal Responsibility. These goals provide the roadmap used by your City Council in determining
the direction of our City's future, the decisions the Council makes, and the implentation of Council decisions by the City Manager and staff. The
end results are that Murrieta’s citizens will be able to live, work, play, receive
quality medical care, and pursue higher education all within our community.
These goals reflect community consensus gleaned from numerous
public hearings, meetings, and conversations with our citizens who are
ultimately in charge of Murrieta. Confirmation, as always, comes with elections,
as the citizens give their approval through the ballot box.
What I have heard is that most families moved to Murrieta
because we are a safe city with great schools and affordable housing.
On the downside, the lament is that most residents have to commute long
distances to good jobs in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties.
Traffic has been, and continues to be, an irritant.
What makes Murrieta different is that we are not just a city; rather,
we are a community. The spirit of our citizens to engage and work together
defines us. Murrieta has preserved its small town feel in spite of a population
of 101,000. The challenge will be to foster and maintain that feeling as job market
growth occurs. As our new Murrieta General Plan is prepared for City Council approval
in the spring of 2011, that challenge is foremost in my mind.
We need to provide a range of affordable housing options so that our grown children
and grandchildren can remain in the area if they wish. The focus now must be on providing
stellar services for those that are already here and preparing for those that will be
arriving in the future. In my vision, I see single family dwellings between the freeways
that transition to estate residential homes as you travel east of the I-215 and west of
the I-15. Within the hilly terrain of the Los Alamos Hogbacks, and the gradually
ascending foothills to the west of Murrieta Creek, are rural residential homes and
horse ranches that must be preserved. While we grow, it is important to maintain and
honor the past.
To attract high paying jobs for our educated work force, economic development is a
high priority. Loma Linda University Medical Center – Murrieta (LLUMC-M) has become the anchor
tenant for the northeast corridor. That area will see the growth of ancillary medical
facilities, labs, offices, and research & development businesses that will complement
LLUMC-M. The 500 jobs generated by the first phase of the hospital in early
2011 should be considered a down payment on a bright future for the area with many more
potential employment opportunities. The area between
the I-15 and I-215 freeways and north of Murrieta Hot Springs Road offers the possibility of a corporate
office park and many fine retail outlets, which will complement the development of the
signature Triangle property just to the south. On Jefferson Avenue, south of Murrieta
Hot Springs, and on Jackson Avenue, just east of the I-15, the city is working to attract
shopping centers, retail stores, and hotels, which will serve new businesses from
coastal communities as they migrate east in search of affordable building sites .
While Murrieta has experienced a loss of many small businesses during the last two years
of worldwide recession, recent statistics are encouraging. Through a proactive economic
development outreach effort, the 400 businesses that left Murrieta were replaced by over
700 new ones.
Towards that end, Murrieta has been investing in the future by funding infrastructure
improvements. The Clinton Keith roadway bridge across the I-215 is being transformed
from a 2-lane bottleneck into a new 6-lane bridge. Access to the I-215 will be
complemented by a third lane on the freeway in each direction starting next year.
A new interchange will start an 18 month period of construction at California Oaks
and the I-15 by late 2010. Including the repairs and upgrades to local
streets and roads, the City will spend $155M on needed infrastructure this year.
In addition, the City has invested in early completion of required environmental reports
so that key economic growth corridors are ready to develop when the economy improves.
A city that cares provides recreational outlets for all of its families and residents.
In the last few years, we have added new parks and planned for more. Our goal of five
acres of parkland per thousand residents has been exceeded. The ball fields that
we have are first class and being maintained in tip top shape. Community services
include an ever expanding list of classes and activities that children and adults can participate
in. Our recently acquired equestrian center will give citizens a place to ride, or learn
to ride, horses. Murrieta operates a vibrant senior center and will soon begin
construction on a teen center. Our Public Library is a first-rate facility with a
staff eager to pass on their love of books. The signature events that Murrieta is
renowned for, such as the City’s Birthday Bash, continue to be funded with wonderful
donations from area businesses. And the city has donated a few acres of land for a
community garden to produce fruits and vegetables that will be given to our food
pantries and churches for those in need.
|Murrieta Valley High School Band Director Rick Lorenzen with Principal Renate Jefferson and Murrieta Councilmember Rick Gibbs after winning the Southern California Band Championships
In order to facilitate all these opportunities and services, a focus on public safety
has been and will continue to be first priority in Murrieta. Our police and fire
departments are staffed with experienced, well trained, and superbly equipped men
and women. Their commitment to public safety has seen Murrieta receive the ranking
of "Second Safest City" in the United States in 2009. The benefit of having our own police
and fire departments has paid dividends and is recognized by both our residential and
business communities. Our Murrieta Police Department School Resource Officer program provides enhanced safety
and role models for our children. My committment is that Murrieta's high level of public safety will be preserved.
Your City Council will ensure that the necessary investments are made in our Police Department and Fire District personnel and equipment.
All other government functions are accomplished by only 118 employees. Since the
beginning of my year as Mayor in 2008, we have reduced the size of government,
eliminated millions from the budget, and continued to deliver the services that
citizens of Murrieta require. The productivity of our employees illustrates the
fact that most of our staff live within Murrieta. For them, it is not just a job.
Their work is for the betterment of our community. Your City government continually strives to find ways to improve services.
"Customer Friendly" is, and will be, the norm. I am proud that the City of Murrieta is providing its citizens
an enhanced Quality of Life.