BY JENNIFER MADRIGAL
Eastvale – The Eastvale Town Hall Quarterly Meeting was held at Ramirez Junior High on Jan. 28. Various departments and organizations came to give updates and answer questions for the community. Here is a brief recap of what information was presented.
Riverside County Sheriff Report/CALFIRE Update: Asst. Police Chief Michael Yates updated the public on various crime statistics in Eastvale. He stressed the importance of Eastvale being named one of the safest cities in California (FBI Report October 2013), noting overall community involvement.
Yates says Part One crimes have declined. In the time period from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2013, there were 28,982 calls, with 9,729 citations written, 43 DUI arrests, 128 injury auto accidents, 243 non-injury collisions, and zero fatal collisions. Police response time has been getting better, as well.
Many marijuana grow houses have been successfully shut down, said Yates. In 2013, 27 houses were shut down with a total of 46 houses in Eastvale overall. The Sheriff’s Department has been extremely successful with the help of the community in identifying and taking these houses down. At one point, they were seeing two houses per week, but they have seen a steady decrease over the past few weeks.
A new trend in crime in Eastvale is “fishing.” Yates says this typically involves young groups of kids out at night between midnight and 3 a.m., walking through neighborhoods checking to see if car doors are unlocked. They simply walk by and lift the handles. If cars are open, they quickly grab loose change, computers, phones, etc., and move on to the next vehicle. The money is often used to buy alcohol and drugs, as the amount of change adds up rather quickly, said Yates.
CAL/FIRE stressed the importance of fire safety, especially in the dry, drought conditions that we are currently facing. Of all the calls they have received in 2013, 72.3% were medical and 2.6% were fire related. The medic squad has taken 27 responses since it came into operation in the latter part of 2013. This has taken some of the load off of the fire engines. When the second fire station at Selby/Chandler opens, this will reduce the call volume even more, according to fire officials.
Ric Welch of JCSD addresses the community during the Jan. 28 town hall meeting in Eastvale. (Jennifer Madrigal)
Jurupa Community Services District (JCSD): Ric Welch of JCSD announced that Eastvale Community Park will be opening March 8. Welch also said the district has added more recreational classes for mature adults and is forming a citizen’s advisory board to receive input from residents.
Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD): The state has changed how school districts get their funding and it is now connected to local control. Money must now be tied to a local plan with community engagement. A committee with 32 people has been formed to look at relevant data (student achievement, attendance, climate of school, etc.) to establish guidelines.
CNUSD is still considering the feasibility of the “Geo Bond.” A survey was done last year and the district is still looking at the details and what the plans will be for the communities. It is important to note that Yorba Elementary School in Eastvale will be completed with or without the bond. However, the district still needs more schools, because more growth is expected in Eastvale over the next seven to ten years. The “Geo Bond” for Eastvale would most likely be used for technology, infrastructure, and safety, as well as another elementary school and possibly an alternative high school. CNUSD will be doing another public survey and hopes to make a decision early to mid-summer on whether or not to proceed with bond. If they do proceed, this bond would be on the ballot for the November election season.
Senator Roth’s Office: Roth’s office says the senator is still fighting for our funds from Vehicle License Fees (VLF). Last week, Roth was able to gain the support of Assembly Speaker John Perez. Roth’s office has decided to change the bill by splitting it into two separate parts with hopes of making it easier and more cost effective. One part of the bill is now called SB69 and will deal with the recently incorporated cities like Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee, and Wildomar. The other part of the bill will deal with annexations. The hope is that this new method will focus more on assisting new cities now. It also makes the bill more cost effective, which will make it more appealing to the governor. Roth’s office is optimistic that this is a step in the right direction.
Bill Newberry also shared that Roth has been nominated as “Legislator of the Year” for all the work he has done for Riverside County.
State Assembly Office: Assemblyman Eric Linder will be backing up Senator Roth on the Vehicle Licensing Fee issue. However, Linder’s office is focusing on AB 1438 – a bill concerning sex offenders. Currently, a sex offender can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation, and if they are successful, they do not need to register as a sex offender. AB 1438 seeks to remove this for offenders who violate children. The Assembly is also working on the surplus from Prop 30. They are hoping to have funds allocated more toward education and to put the rest away for a “rainy day” fund.
Leal Specific Plan: Asst. Planning Director Cathy Perring spoke to the public about the development of the Leal property. The property was originally part of a general plan for mixed-use, with retail, offices, etc. Although the land is not owned by the city, they are working with the Leal family to prepare a plan that will guide development. The city has asked for the public’s opinion and ideas for what the land could be used for. Please go to www.lealspecificplan.com to submit ideas and vote by February 7. The ideas will be presented to the City Council at the February 26 meeting, with action on a vision plan expected at the March 26 meeting.
Goodman Commerce Center: Goodman Birtcher is a real estate company that owns, develops and manages property. They will be investing $250 million in the City of Eastvale. The Goodman Commerce Center will be opening in Eastvale in conjunction with Lewis properties. Over the last two years, they have been meeting with constituents, planning staff, etc., on how to develop the 200 acres located in the “pan-handle” of Eastvale. The property is adjacent to the I-15 freeway off Cantu-Galleano and Bellegrave.
Some of the land will be used for industrial purposes with direct freeway access for trucks. This will limit trucks on our roads and prevent more traffic issues, according to Birtcher. The south 25 acres will be a business park and will have employee pathways and trails, which will be more visually pleasing and add to the landscape of the area. There is also a retail/commercial component of about 45 acres. It is currently zoned for a hospital, hotel, etc. Currently, this is in the conceptual stage, but it could be a draw for major retailers.
An Environmental Impact Report has been started and Goodman also plans to widen Hamner Avenue by three lanes, as well as build and maintain landscaping in that area. The commerce center has the ability to generate as many as 2,500 – 4,600 jobs to our area, according to Birtcher.
Chino Desalter Expansion Project: Joseph Blume and Cindy Miller of the Chino Desalter Authority/Butier Engineering Inc., spoke about the project, which will bring more drinking water to the cities of Eastvale, Ontario, Corona, and Norco. This part of the project, which involves placing a 30-inch diameter pipeline through Eastvale, is part of an overall expansion project of the CDA’s water treatment plant and delivery system. Once completed, expansion will provide 10 million gallons of drinking water per day to the communities. Construction is expected to start on Mississippi Drive in Eastvale and run north along Hamner Avenue to Riverside Drive. Hamner will stay open, although there will be some delays. However, no detours are expected. They also plan some night construction, using flag men, and will be working during the holiday season (Thanksgiving 2014 thru Jan. 1, 2015). There also may be some water shutdowns, but the plan is to use phasing limits in construction to keep inconveniences to a minimum. The project is expected to be completed by February 2015.
Riverside Animal Control: Mark Visyak, Animal Control Officer, spoke to the community about 2013’s statistics. In 2013, there were 1,463 calls overall. The breakdown of these calls consisted of: impounds (346), returned to owners (24), dead animal retrieval (167), citations (85), requests for patrol (329), assists to the fire department (2), assists to code enforcement (1), assists to the police (11), investigations for bites, barking, etc. (107), and lots of opossums.
Eastvale Community Foundation: The foundation announced it will start selling Eastvale decals for cars as a way to help raise money. It was announced that the Youth Scholarship Program is back. Applications will be available at Eastvale City Hall beginning Monday, Feb. 3 through May 1, 2014.
The next Eastvale Quarterly Town Hall Meeting will be held in March, with date and location to be announced.