COSAS: City Manager's Newsletter for January 14, 2022

Date: January, 14 2022 Category: City Manager, City Manager’s Newsletter, Notification

An aerial image of the Santa Ana Civic Center, focusing around the old court house, with white text over laid, reading: COSAS CITY OF SANTA ANA STORIES. There is a blue bar at the bottom with white text which reads, "A NEWSLETTER FROM THE DESK OF CITY MANAGER KRISTINE RIDGE"

In this edition of the City Manager’s newsletter, learn about the development of exciting new projects like the City’s first dog park, a new community park and a new zoo exhibit, get an update on the City’s homeless shelter that’s under construction, and find how to take advantage of the state mortgage relief program, along with other City news and events

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Spotlight Photo

Two individuals sitting on a couch in a room, including Mr. Zhang pointing at a scroll that includes calligraphy.

Mr. Zhang Explains Calligraphy

Photo Credit: Jennifer W.

To submit your own original photo of Santa Ana to be featured in the next newsletter, complete this form

City Manager’s Highlights

COVID-19 Update

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, the California Department of Public Health has extended the order requiring face coverings for everyone, vaccinated or not, in indoor public settings until February 15, 2022. As we continue to fight through the pandemic, I ask that you stay safe by getting vaccinated, wearing your mask and staying home if you feel sick.

We know it’s hard to find a test right now, so please visit the City of Santa Ana’s COVID-19 resources page to find updated information on testing, vaccines, financial assistance and more. In addition to the City’s rental assistance program, the State now offers a mortgage relief program. Read more below in News.

One unfortunate side effect of this surge has been a delay in the collection of residential curbside recycling bins due to a driver shortage. We hope this issue is being resolved, but please check the City’s website, download the mySantaAna app, sign up for Nixle alerts and follow us on social media for updates on any future delays.

COVID-19 Resources:

SMART Program and Homeless Updates

The City of Santa Ana continues to lead Orange County in addressing homelessness. The new Santa Ana Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams, or SMART, is a pilot program between the City and our contracted service provider, City Net. Teams of outreach workers, case managers, substance abuse professionals, mental health clinicians, nurse practitioners and plain-clothes, private safety officers will provide help and support to our unhoused residents. We hope to divert non-emergency calls related to homelessness away from the Police Department and to SMART. You can call SMART at (714) 242-3706.

We are also making great progress on the City’s new homeless shelter. Read more about it below in Tales of the City. You can stay updated on the homelessness situation in Santa Ana by watching my monthly updates to the City Council. Find the most recent update in the video below.

Watch the Homelessness Update:


An Otter-ly Exciting Renovation at the Santa Ana Zoo!

Concept rendering of the upcoming Amazon's Edge Exhibit previews patrons viewing otters and monkeys through a glass wall.

A new exhibit that will showcase giant river otters swimming through a waterfall while monkeys play above is coming to the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park. The Zoo had a ceremonial groundbreaking today, January 14, for the giant river otter habitat and primate trails renovation and expansion at the Amazon’s Edge exhibit. The $6.6 million project is the most complex that the Zoo has undertaken and will bring new life and an immersive experience for guests and animals alike. 

The project is the first phase of the Zoo’s Master Plan for further development and is made possible by $6 million in parks improvement funds from the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Agency and $600,000 from the Friends of the Santa Ana Zoo in the form of grants and donations.

Read More About the Exhibit:

A group of people wearing hard hats holding shovels stand on a pile of dirt in front of trees.

Raitt and Myrtle Park Coming Soon!

Santa Ana City Manager Kristine Ridge grabs a shovel alongside Mayor Pro Tem Phil Bacerra, Councilmember David Penaloza, Councilmember Nelida Mendoza, Executive Director of PRCSA Lisa Rudloff, and two members of the community to break the ground for the creation of a new park.

The groundbreaking ceremony for a new community park took place on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. The planned 1.18-acre park will be on the corner of Raitt and Myrtle streets. Members of the City Council grabbed shovels and assisted in the groundbreaking of this much-anticipated park. 

The $4 million park will feature a skate park, exercise area, playground, butterfly interpretive garden, drought tolerant landscaping and a walking/jogging path. The park is expected to open in February 2023.

Help Design the New Dog Park

A map depicting the area where the new dog park will be located within Centennial Park.

We need your help! Santa Ana neighbors are invited to an in-person community workshop to help design the City’s first dog park, to be located in Centennial Park. The future park will be approximately 3.5 acres and will offer two separate off-leash spaces for small dogs and large dogs to roam free. Other amenities will include security lighting, drinking fountains with pet bowls, waste bag dispensers, irrigation, dog play/agility features, and drought-tolerant vegetation. 

The workshop will take place on Saturday, January 22, 2022, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Centennial Park Administration Office.

Join the Dog Park Workshop:

New California Mortgage Relief and Rental Assistance Program

Graphic of a home resting on a stack of money.

The new California Mortgage Relief Program is currently accepting applications! Homeowners may be eligible for mortgage relief funds if they have missed payments for their primary residence, faced a financial hardship during the pandemic and are at or below 100 percent of their county’s Area Median Income. Funds awarded to qualified homeowners through this program will be given directly to their mortgage servicers and do not need to be repaid. 

Apply for Mortgage Relief:

Apply for Rental Assistance:

Proposed Draft for Redistricting Maps Now Available

A graphic containing the proposed City Council wards alongside a picture of the Santa Ana Water Tower with text that reads "Proposed Draft Redistricting Maps Now Available".

An interactive proposed redistricting map for redrawing City Council wards is now available for the public on the Clerk of the Council’s website. City Council will review and discuss the proposed maps during the next Council meeting on January 18, 2022, at 7 p.m. Another City Council meeting on the draft maps will take place on February 1, 2022.

Learn More About Redistricting:

Interactive Redistricting Map:

Can Your Neighborhood Block Win Most Improved?

A graphic depicting the sign that residents can win for their entry into the Neighborhood Block Transformation Contest. The sign reads, "Santa Ana Award Winning Beautiful Block".

Did you know you can enter your neighborhood block improvements to win the Neighborhood Block Transformation Contest? Property improvements must be for community beautification with a focus on the parkway areas. Send both your neighborhood block before- and after-improvement pictures by May 20, 2022, for a chance to win two award-recognition signs and a $100 gift card! 

Neighborhood Block Transformation Contest:

Tales of the City

Picture depicting the construction site of the New Homeless Navigation Center during the day. An empty lot is in the foreground with a chain-link fence surrounding it. A group of construction workers wearing hard hats and type 2 vests building the inside of the new Homeless Navigation Center.A large, gray trellis is depicted in front of the new Homeless Navigation Center closed off by a temporary chain-link fence.

Homeless Navigation Center Coming to Life

Work is progressing on the City’s new Homeless Navigation Center. Once complete, this new shelter will replace the City’s interim homeless shelter, the Link. This new site will provide 200 beds, with the ability to increase it to 300, for Santa Ana residents experiencing homelessness. The Homeless Navigation Center will also include a commercial kitchen, men’s, women’s, couples, and family dorms, offices for case management and medical services, and an outdoor area for guests and their pets. 

Adhering to the principles of Housing First, guests will be admitted with low-barrier requirements through approved referral agencies. All guests will be transported in and out of the shelter, as no walk-in traffic is allowed. During their stay, guests will be offered a robust package of supportive services to transition to permanent housing and to cope with underlying issues causing them to cycle through the system.

The shelter will be operated by the Illumination Foundation partnered with Clarke Law Medical Corp. to provide medical and mental healthcare services separate from substance abuse counseling for guests onsite the center. 

Homeless Services Data Dashboard:

City Council Meetings

City Council meetings are typically held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5 p.m. Meetings now have both in-person and virtual participation and attendance and are live streamed on YouTube and CTV 3 (channel 3 on Spectrum and channel 99 on AT&T TV). If you’d like to provide public comments on agenda and non-agenda items, you can email, attend in person, or join the Zoom webinar online or by phone.

January 18, 2022, Meeting Agenda:


Santa Ana Zoo: Resident Free Day - Jan. 16

A banner-style graphic for the Santa Ana Zoo depicting a Blue and Yellow Macaw Parrot on the left side, a Scarlet Ibis Bird, a monkey, and a lemur on the right side. In the center, the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park logo is displayed.

On Resident Free Day, the third Sunday of each month, residents of Santa Ana may visit the Santa Ana Zoo for free. Proof of residency (driver's license, utility bill) will be required upon arrival. Not valid to schools or business addresses. The next Resident Free day is Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022.

Santa Ana Zoo:

Santa Ana Sundays at the Bowers Museum - Jan. 16 and 23

Picture depicting two women dancing while wearing white and yellow folklorico dresses, with their faces covered in a white makeup. In the middle of the picture, a large text reads, "Santa Ana Sundays, Free Admission for Santa Ana Residents Every Sunday at the Bowers Museum".

Bowers offers free general admission to all Santa Ana residents on Sundays through a generous donation in memory of Dorothy Goerl and courtesy of the Lockhart Family. Santa Ana residents will need to provide proof of residency with an ID, driver’s license or utility bill.

Bowers Museum:

Santa Ana Work Center Workshops - Jan. 18, 20, 25, 27

The logo of the Santa Ana Work Center with yellow, orange, red, and green arrows on the left side of the text.

The Santa Ana Work Center is hosting Career Readiness Workshops this month beginning. These workshops will focus on learning how to create relationships with professionals, exploring career fields, improving self-confidence, and customizing your resume. 

All sessions are from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.:

  • Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - Strategies, Personal Review, Career Focus
  • Thursday, January 20, 2022 - Customize Resumes
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - Building Your Brand, Networking, Pitching
  • Thursday, January 27, 2022 - Interviewing, Placement, Vocational Training

Email or text 714-805-8542 to RSVP.

Santa Ana Work Center:

Willits and Sullivan Beautification Celebration - Jan. 22

Join the City of Santa Ana in the unveiling of a new sculpture on the corner of Willits and Sullivan streets. The free family event will include art workshops for families, $5 vouchers for food trucks to the first 100 guests, music and dancing, resource booths, and the opportunity to meet the artist of the sculpture.

  • Saturday, January 22, 2022: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Corner of Willits St. and Sullivan St.

Author Hour Series: Sarah Rafael Garcia - Jan. 22

A banner-style graphic depicting author Sarah Rafael Garcia on the left side and the text "Author Hour Series" on the right side with the City of Santa Ana logo on the top right corner.

Join the Santa Ana Public Library as they kick off their Author Hour Series with award-winning Chicana author, artist, and local bookstore owner Sarah Rafael Garcia. Sarah will feature some readings from her books “Las Niñas” and “San Tana’s Fairy Tales. The readings will be followed by a Q & A and book signing segment. 

  • Saturday, January 22, 2022: 1 to 2:30 p.m., Santa Ana Public Library26 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana

The Seva Collective Free Drive-Thru Food Pantry - Jan. 22

A light blue flyer with a few graphics of people carrying groceries and a few cars with their trunk open. The flyer is filled with texts that state "Free Drive-Thru Food Pantry" in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The flyer includes dates for January and February.

The Seva Collective is hosting a free drive-thru Food Pantry at Villa Fundamental School! Walk-up service available, no registration required. Hours are 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 22.

Food Distributions: