Ward 3 Newsletter: June 2024

Posted on June 28, 2024


June 2024

Happy Pride Month! 🌈

June is special to Team Lopez because we get to celebrate love, diversity, and unity. We especially love Pride Month because it gives us the opportunity to join supporters, advocates, and champions to walk in the annual OC Pride parade. It’s always an honor and joy to meet a crowd of beautiful people coming together to celebrate and uplift LGBTQIA+ family, friends, and neighbors. The fight for equality continues, and we promise to remain committed to our efforts to achieve justice and equality for all. Because love, is love, is love.

As we wrap up June, we remember that the Fourth of July is right around the corner–next week, to be exact. In addition to our annual Fourth of July celebration at Centennial Park to celebrate Independence Day, I’ll be around Ward 3 celebrating with you too. For your information, City Hall will be closed next Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, in observance of Independence Day. Let freedom ring!

With Pride celebrations kicking off, we’re reminded of previous years’ celebrations! Here are a few memories:

Councilmember Lopez Marching at Pride Parade

Councilmember Lopez Hugs at Pride Parade

Ward 3 and Citywide Highlights

Ward 3 and Citywide Highlights

Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

Pride Flag Raising Ceremony Group Photo

This June, we raised the Pride Flag at City Hall for the third year in a row. This was a celebration of love, diversity, and celebration. Pride is not just a time to honor the LGBTQIA+ community’s history and achievements, but also a call to action for continued progress and equality. Let’s stand together in solidarity, embracing our differences and championing the rights of all individuals to live authentically and freely. Happy Pride Month!

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Photo Exhibition

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Photo Exhibit

I was excited to co-host the “Visual Voices” photography exhibit with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities. The exhibit showcased the artistic photographs taken by more than 40 community members, showcasing their neighborhoods and the things they enjoy about our beautiful city. They also displayed the amazing work of 10 students who participated in youth photo classes. Over the past several months, these young photographers explored the vibrant streets of Santa Ana, capturing the essence of our diverse community in unique ways. This exhibition was not just a showcase of their creativity but a celebration of the stories and perspectives that make our city so special. Thank you to SABHC for all their work and to artist Lucas Gordon for leading the class.

Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities Photo Exhibition group photo

100-Year Celebration of El Don

I was ecstatic to attend the 100-year celebration of El Don. I’m immensely proud of the budding journalists in our city and the dedicated faculty who nurture their vision. Keep uncovering and reporting the truth!

As seen on the wall of the exhibit:

One hundred years ago, a group of 20 students at Santa Ana Junior College decided to publish college news as a four-page edition separate from the high school paper. Today, Santa Ana College’s multi-platform student media outlet, now known as El Don, is the most decorated two-year collegiate news organization in the nation. To honor El Don’s centennial year of award-winning service to campus and community, a team of students, alumni and faculty scoured decades of physical and digital archives for select works of reporting, writing, photography, and multimedia design. What fills this gallery is not only a testament to El Don’s legacy of excellence. It’s also proof of the importance of a free press in a free society, the value of student voices — and the innovation and commitment required to inform, engage and hold power to account. Enjoy a century of local, campus and El Don history as told by the student journalists of Santa Ana College.

Santiago Creek Clean-Up

June 2024 Santiago Creek Clean-Up Group Photo

A shout-out to our awesome volunteers who recently went above and beyond, battling the sun to clean up our park, tackling trash and black mustard in the creek! Together, we filled five large bags and showed our appreciation for our parks. A huge thanks to OC Habitats and our volunteers for their dedication!

June 2024 Santiago Creek Clean-Up

Fisher Park Flapjack Social

Fisher Park Flapjack Social

I had the pleasure of joining the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association for their Flapjack Social. It was a delightful community gathering where neighbors came together to enjoy delicious pancakes, a morning coffee, and great company! It was great to talk with both new and long-time residents. Thank you to the Fisher Park Neighborhood Association for inviting me and being such a great host!

Fisher Park Flapjack Social Cooking

Well 32 Improvement Project Update

Well 32 Inside Discussion with Councilmember Lopez, Nabil Saba, and staff

I recently toured the Well 32 Improvement Project site with our Public Works Agency. Please be aware that construction will soon begin on a major arterial, likely causing traffic delays during the installation of the water main connection between Well 32 and the John Garthe Reservoir. Construction is scheduled to start on Bristol Street during non-commuting hours. Residents and local businesses are being notified about the upcoming work. Thank you to all residents for your patience during this time.


  1. Well 32 Building: The building has been constructed, and the well rehabilitation, installation of well appurtenances, drains liner, water distribution main, and electrical/fiber optic conduit connections to the John Garthe Reservoir have been completed. Upcoming construction activities will occur on Westwood Avenue, leading to temporary parking restrictions and traffic delays. Notices are being distributed to residents about the work.
  2. Water Main Pipeline Utility Potholing: This work along Westwood Avenue, Memory Lane, and Bristol Street is complete. The water line alignment is under review for minor revisions. The installation of the water main connection between Well 32 and the John Garthe Reservoir is expected to begin on Bristol Street near the reservoir, progressing northward to Memory Lane, and finally to Westwood Avenue. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in early July 2024 and expected to be completed by December 2024.
  3. John Garthe Reservoir Chemical Building: The foundation is being prepared, along with the Pressure Control and Chemical Injection vaults. Installation of the on-site water connections to the water main on Bristol Street and the treatment equipment construction activities are expected to continue for several months. All construction activities are occurring on site with minimal disruption to the community.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time. If you have questions, please contact us at (714) 647-6900.

Morrison Park Improvement Updates

Morrison Park Tennis Courts are resurfaced

Morrison Park Court Side View

The Morrison Park improvements have been completed! This includes the resurfacing and restriping of the tennis, pickleball, volleyball and basketball courts. These courts have been reopened to residents as of Thursday, June 13, 2024, providing a refreshed space for recreational activities.

Additionally, new fencing was added and new court lighting will be installed at the beginning of August. We are excited to see residents enjoying these improved amenities and can’t wait to see you all out in the courts.

Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth Photo under the Canopy

I was honored to represent Santa Ana at the Juneteenth festival. It is a celebration of freedom, resilience, and the enduring spirit of Black Americans. Let’s reflect on our progress and continue fighting for equality and justice. Special thanks to the Orange County Heritage Council for uplifting our community.

Juneteenth festival with Councilmember Lopez on Stage

Seeds of Change at the Santa Ana Zoo

Councilmember Lopez and Supervisor Sarmiento at the Zoo

At the Santa Ana Zoo, we planted the seeds of change by welcoming the Brazilian grape tree and a host of shrubs and plants. In a few years, Zoo Lane will be adorned with towering trees, offering shade, vibrant views, and a healthier habitat for all. Huge thanks to our dedicated zoo staff, Director Fisher, Friends of the Zoo, and the Parks Division for their efforts!

Councilmember Lopez Digging Plants at the Zoo

Ward 3 has two New Commissioners!

Commissioner Alfonso Ceja appointed to a City commission

Commissioner Mercy Benitez appointed to a City commission

Recruiting and appointing suitable candidates for the commission has been a lengthy process. Many people don’t apply, and some who do have political ties. Our office prioritizes giving opportunities to those who haven’t had the chance to participate. After months of interviews, we appointed Alfonso Ceja to the Community Development Commission. Alfonso, a Chapman University graduate with a Master’s in Real Estate Development, has experience in housing preservation and will advocate for inclusive housing solutions.

Also, meet Mercy Benitez, an inspiring 8th grader from the Santa Ana Unified School District with a passion for her community and big dreams of a future in the legal field!

OCCHC Home Buyer Fair

OCCHC Home Buyer Fair Group Photo

I recently joined the Orange County Community Housing Corporation at their Home Buyer Fair in Santa Ana. This inspiring event was dedicated to empowering our residents with the resources and vital information needed to make the dream of homeownership a reality. From financial counseling to guidance on navigating the housing market, the fair provided invaluable support to aspiring homeowners. It was truly heartwarming to see so many community members taking proactive steps towards securing their futures. Thank you OCCHC for your amazing work with our residents!

OCCHC Home Buyer Fair Small Group Photo

Estrella Springs Housing Project for Veterans

Estrella Springs Rendering

I am happy to announce that Estrella Springs, the City of Santa Ana’s fourth hotel conversion, is nearing completion and will provide permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans and individuals with mental health diagnoses. Jamboree Housing is converting the former Budget Inn Motel at 1108 N. Harbor Blvd. into 89 fully-furnished studio apartments. This project is another example of successful hotel conversions, following Santiago Villas, Casa Querencia, and the Orchard by the City of Santa Ana.

This motel conversion will create homes, not just temporary shelters. This initiative provides essential housing solutions for individuals transitioning out of the City of Santa Ana’s shelter system. Unlike typical homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing allows residents to stay in their apartments without the daily need to leave or the pressure to move out after a short period. I’m proud to support our veterans with real, lasting solutions, not just rhetoric.

City of Santa Ana wins $25 Million Federal Grant for Rail Crossing to Improve Traffic and Pedestrian Safety

Santa Ana Boulevard Grade Separation Aerial

The City of Santa Ana has received a $25 million federal grant to improve a rail crossing at Santa Ana Boulevard. The project will create a new underpass, reduce road lanes, add protected bikeways, sidewalks, and a pedestrian overcrossing. This aims to enhance safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, improve traffic flow, and reduce congestion. The funding comes from the RAISE program, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The project is expected to be completed by January 2029.

Our team thanks Congressman Lou Correa and Senator Alex Padilla for supporting the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that made the funding for this project possible.

Read more here.

County Parking Structure 8 now Open to the Public in Downtown Santa Ana

A few weeks ago, in response to Downtown Santa Ana businesses and the community expressing that more parking in the downtown area was needed, the County of Orange opened Parking Structure P8 to the public during the weekends and also extended weekday hours. At the County of Orange’s request, the City is sharing the available parking information with the public. See the infographic below with the details and associated costs.

County Parking Structure 8 Infographic

AA Bond Rating for Santa Ana

S&P Global Ratings assigned a AA credit rating to the Santa Ana Public Financing Authority and the 2024 Water Revenue Bonds. This means our bonds are considered investment-worthy and high-grade. The S&P report cited the highly rated water system and strong financial management. Great job to our Finance Director, Kat Downs, and her team.

Zoning Code Update

Zoning Code Update flier

The Comprehensive Zoning Code Update is one of the key implementation actions to realize the vision set in the General Plan. The update will modernize the zoning code, streamline processes, have clear regulations, address new state laws, and most importantly, address community needs and goals outlined in the General Plan. The Planning and Building Agency (PBA) is partnering with four community-based organizations (CBOs) to develop a robust public engagement plan for the zoning code update. Those CBOs include the Kennedy Commission, Green-MPNA, OCEJ, and Thrive Santa Ana. That engagement plan will include community workshops, which are scheduled for July 2024.

The Planning Commission and City Council study sessions will be scheduled during regular meetings in August or September. This will allow PBA to gather and share community input from the workshops and receive direction from the City Council on key issues identified during outreach. PBA expects the project to be completed within 18 months.

Learn more on our website.

City of Santa Ana Moves to Protect Oldest Neighborhoods from Industrial Pollution under Historic Environmental Justice Initiative

Environmental Justice Initiative image with smoke stack

The City of Santa Ana has suspended new or expanded industrial activities near the historical neighborhoods of Logan, Lacy, and Downtown, aiming to address health risks from pollution as part of an environmental justice initiative in its new General Plan. This moratorium, affecting over 130 businesses, city staff will evaluate environmental impacts and develop appropriate regulations.

The neighborhoods, largely Latino and historically disadvantaged, have faced unequal environmental burdens due to past land-use practices. The General Plan includes 77 environmental justice actions, overseen by the newly created Neighborhood Initiatives and Environmental Services section and the Environmental Justice Action Committee.

Read more on our website.

Santa Ana Visitors Contributed $414.7 Million to the Local Economy in 2023

Travel Santa Ana Logo

Travel spending in Santa Ana Grew by $35 Million, Surpassing 2022 by 9.2%

In 2023, Santa Ana saw traveler expenditures reach $414.7 million from 940,341 visitors, marking a 9% increase over 2022, though still 3.7% below pre-pandemic levels. The travel industry contributed over $27 million in local and state taxes, sparing residents from paying an additional $195 annually in local taxes.

The travel industry supported 2,980 jobs in Santa Ana and added nearly $137 million in wages to the local economy. Major visitor spending categories included food service ($109 million), accommodations ($107 million), arts, entertainment, and recreation ($81.5 million), local transportation and gas ($63 million), retail sales ($36.8 million), and food stores ($16.7 million).

Santa Ana’s travel economy growth is attributed to a 5% increase in overnight visitors and price inflation, especially in food services and accommodations.

Visit Travel Santa Ana to learn more.

Main Library Closed for Major Renovations

The City of Santa Ana is preparing to renovate its Main Library starting June 20, 2024, with an expected reopening in spring 2026. This ambitious project aims to modernize and enhance the library, preserving its 1950s architectural charm while introducing new features like an interactive children’s area and a Maker Lab.

The renovation includes restoring the iconic Italian marble façade and improving functionality and aesthetics throughout the building. During the renovation, library services will continue at extended hours in the Newhope Branch and various community centers, with plans for new library branches in the Delhi Community Center by early 2025 and an Outdoor Public Library by spring 2025.

Learn more on our website.

Grant Agreement with Caltrans for the Walnut Street Urban Greening Project

Below is a drawing of the proposed project and a clarification. The South Main Street Vision Plan identified Walnut Street from Main to Cypress as a potential park. It involves removing street Right-of-Way (ROW) along a section of Walnut Street, from Main St. to the Cypress, and converting the property to greenway and public open space. The project is divided into two phases: Phase 1 from Main to Court Avenue Alley and Phase 2 from the Alley to Cypress Street. We applied to fund Phase 1 of the project through the State Of California Clean California Local Grants Program. We won $2.2 million to fund Phase 1 of the project. Phase 1 includes removing street Right-of-Way along the section of Walnut Street, from Main Street to the Court Avenue alley, converting the street to greenway and public open space with public art.

Walnut Street Urban Greening Project conceptual drawing

Santa Ana Expands Youth Employment Program with $2 Million Grant

Youth Employment Program Intern with Books

I am excited to announce that the Santa Ana Youth (SAY) Employment Program to offer paid public sector and non-profit work experience to 120 youth aged 16 to 30 is expanding. Funded by a $2 million grant from California Volunteers, part of the State of California Department of General Services, the program was approved by the Santa Ana City Council on June 18, 2024.

I firmly believe that investing in educational, job training, and career opportunities for our youth is essential to Santa Ana’s future and crucial in reducing violence in our communities.

This is the second grant from California Volunteers, following a $4.5 million grant in June 2022, which benefited 400 Santa Ana youth.

  • Enrollment begins in September 2024. Apply Here: https://ecms.santa-ana.org/Forms/SAY-Employment
  • Focus areas: food insecurity, education, public service, career exploration, and readiness.
  • Participants will access AI and STEM technology workshops.
  • Comprehensive support: administrative assistance, fiscal and programmatic oversight, compliance review, progress tracking and reporting, career counseling, case management, and more.

For questions, call the Santa Ana Work Center at (714) 565-2600 or email SAYEmployment@santa-ana.org.

Upcoming Events

Fourth of July: Thursday, July 4 at Centennial Park

Fourth of July Flier

The City of Santa Ana is hosting its annual Fourth of July celebration at Centennial Park on July 4, 2024, from 3 – 9 p.m. The event features live music, a kid’s zone, trivia, food vendors, and a 20-minute fireworks show at 8:45 p.m. There will also be a Patriotic Pup competition at 7 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics, but personal fireworks are prohibited. Dogs must be on leashes. Parking is free.

For more details, visit our website.

Summer Concerts in the Park: July 18 through August 8 from 6 to 8:30 PM

flier for Summer Concerts in the Park 2024

Santa Ana’s Concerts in the Park series will take place every Thursday from July 18 to August 8, 2024, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at different parks. There will be free family-friendly concerts with live music, dancing, food vendors, and activities for kids. Community bands can perform from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. by emailing specialevents@santa-ana.org. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics.

In Ward 3, we’ll be hosting Concerts in the Park with OC3 at Portola Park on Thursday, July 25.

For more details, visit the Santa Ana Concerts in the Park webpage.

Summer Movies in the Park: ‘Tarzan’ at the Santa Ana Zoo on July 26

flier for Movies in the Park 2024

The City of Santa Ana is hosting a Summer Movies in the Park series from June 7 to July 26, 2024. Every Friday evening, free family-friendly movies will be shown at different parks, starting at 6 p.m. Attendees can enjoy inflatables, themed activities, and food for purchase from vendors. Popcorn is available while supplies last. Headsets for Spanish audio are offered, and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics.

For more details, visit the Santa Ana Summer Movie Series webpage.

Other Local Events

Stay in the loop with our office! Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on our social media platforms. If you need assistance, please reach out directly via email at jessielopez@santa-ana.org or by phone at (714) 822-0891. Thank you for staying connected with us. To access previous newsletters, please visit https://www.santa-ana.org/jessie-lopez/. You are receiving this email because our records show that you reside in Ward 3 or because you have subscribed to Mayor Pro Tem Lopez’s newsletter. If you would like to opt-out of this newsletter, please email aulmer@santa-ana.org.

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To book a meeting with Councilwoman Lopez, please contact aulmer@santa-ana.org.

Wishing you all a joyful and safe summer! May this season bring relaxation, adventure, and cherished moments with loved ones. Have a wonderful summer filled with celebration and pride, and happy Independence Day!

Take care and enjoy every moment!

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