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La Mesa evolves amid building projects

La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis delivered his 2024 State of the City Address in a video message, delivering the state of the City’s achievements, challenges, and outlying the city’s future. Arapostathis said he was of how far the city has come to “modernize and create a thriving community.”

Arapostathis said the city continues to advance its permit processing.

“In 2023, nearly 2,000 permits were issued, and more than 800 projects were completed,” he said. “This status suggests progress as our city continues to evolve and extend to meet the needs of both our residents and businesses.

Construction began at 8181 Allison Ave., a 100% affordable housing project with 147 units, he said.

“This new development marks as significant step forward in accessing affordable housing in our region,” he said. “Thanks to the city’s Afford¬able Homes Density Program, in 2023, 48 units successfully underwent final inspection and are now occupied. Additionally, five ongoing construction projects are set to contribute a combined total of 271 units to La Mesa.”

Arapostathis said the city has made significant progress in the city’s in¬frastructure with more than 545,000 square feet of roads resurfaced with the intention of resurfacing 100 streets in early 2024.

Arapostathis said in continuing the city’s commitment to Vision Zero, it has completed several traffic improvements, upgrading 12 intersections with modern technology.

This past year the city finished renovating its oldest park, Collier Park, including a new playground, new tennis and pickle ball courts, picnic areas, and increased safety features.

“The city also celebrated the opening of the fitness plaza at La Mesita Park which includes exercise equipment for the community to use and enjoy,” he said. “The city also finished the master plan for Waite Park, a welcoming park that utilizes the area for children and families. This feature 2.84-acre park will have a playground, dog run, an open lawn, a fitness zone, and more.”

Arapostathis said the La Mesa Police Department continues its efforts in community outreach.

“The department continues to promote women in the department with 22% of the force consisting of female officers, a two percent increase from the previous year,” he said. “Through 2023, the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement pro¬gram housed 42 people, interacted with more than 177 individuals, and handled more than 1,767 calls for service that would have otherwise had been responded to by law enforcement. This year, the HOME team began providing navigation, assisting individuals to find suitable units, paid the application fees, advocated to landlords, and provide financial assistance to cover moving costs related to the rental unit. The HOME team has also started working closely with Second Chance, a nonprofit that provides job readiness training to clients struggling connecting to employment due to their homelessness status or involvement with the justice system.”

Arapostathis said the Façade and Property Improvement Grant Program and the La Mesa Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program supported local business, fostered economic growth and entrepreneurship in the community.

“This year businesses completed 12 renovations utilizing the city’s Façade grant program, that uses $500,000 of federal stimulus funds to encourage business and property owners to renovate their appearance of their commercial areas,” he said. “In 2023, four of our La Mesa Entrepreneur Accelerator Program entrepreneurs celebrated their grand openings. This program offers courses in financial planning, social media marketing, business and operations to assist business startups. En¬trepreneurs that complete the course and open their business can receive up to $20,000 in grants.”

Arapostathis said other notable events was the 50th celebration of the La Mesa Certified Farmer’s Market, the city’s dedication to its Climate Action Plan, and staff’s hard work on keeping the community together with its special events and community festivals.

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