City goes high-profile

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week City officials have gone into overdrive planning everything from traffic control to security issues as they prepare to celebrate two historic events in one week. “Simi Valley has arrived as a first-rate, beautiful place to live, work and play,” Becerra said. “We are not second to anybody anymore.” The Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum pays tribute to Reagan’s journeys in his quest to spread peace and democracy around the globe. Known as “The Spirit of `76,” the plane flew 445 missions, 211 for Reagan, from 1973 to 2001. That, coupled with the opening of the first new mall in more than 25 years in Ventura County, is causing some anxiety along with the celebration. SIMI VALLEY – This week will be the biggest week in the city’s history as two monuments open – one to America’s modern-day leaders and one to good old-fashioned capitalism. On Monday, the spectacular Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum will open to the public. The $31 million 87,000-square-foot, three-story landmark showcases the retired Boeing 707 that served seven presidents. Then Thursday, after three decades of plans and dreams, the city’s first regional shopping mall, the Simi Valley Town Center, will open. The open-air center is geared toward the upscale shopper in Simi Valley, where the average household income is around $100,000. “Just the scope of what these events represent,” Councilman Glen Becerra said. “One turns Simi Valley into a destination location for people around the world. The second will provide an upscale shopping experience for the residents of the city and Ventura County.” “It’s certainly creating a great deal of organizational stress in terms of making these events work smoothly for the public,” said City Manager Mike Sedell. “However, this is the culmination of a lot of work and effort. We’re very proud of the fact that the quality of both facilities is one that will impress the world.” Mayor Paul Miller said the two events, while different, make this east Ventura County city of about 120,000 residents an attractive destination for outsiders. “We have two events coming together at the same time that will put us on the map,” said the city’s former chief of police, adding that the mall has been on officials’ radar screen for a long time. The wait is over and city officials are starting to relax. Last week construction workers were putting finishing touches on the 600,000-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment center between First Street and Erringer Road north of the Ronald Reagan Freeway. Thousands were on-site preparing for the grand opening, which will have the theme Carnivale Grande. “It’s busy and it’s frantic, but it’s a lot of fun,” said Vickie Sherman, director of marketing for the Town Center. “It’s adrenaline. It’s exciting. But we’ve got it together. Simi Valley has been waiting for this for quite some time.” Said Councilwoman Barbra Williamson, who lives within walking distance of the center, “It’s going to blow our socks off. It (the mall) has been a very long time in coming. I’m a 33-year resident and I’ve been waiting at least 33 years. This is quite the moment for Simi Valley. This mall is going to kick you-know-what.” For years, says former mayor Greg Stratton, the city of Simi Valley fought hard to lure a regional mall. Setback after setback made the task difficult. In the 1970s, the city was passed on by developers who opted to build a mall in Thousand Oaks because of its freeway access. In the `80s, Simi leaders worked to convince developers that the city’s population could support another regional mall. And just when the city appeared poised to gain a long-awaited mall in the mid-`90s, recession hit, said Stratton, who served on the council from 1979 to 1998. “It was frustrating, but the team kept it going,” he said. “They went back and resurrected it. It’s been a continuing saga. It was something we worked on from the minute we got elected.” More than just a shopping experience, the mall is expected to ring up more than $3.6 million in sales tax revenue annually, a share of which will go to the city general fund to finance services such as police and fire protection. “This signifies the maturation of the community’s economy,” Sedell said. “We don’t have to rely on growth revenues. The sales tax and property tax make up for the leveling off and stabilizes our future.” When it opens, the shopping mall will be anchored by a Macy’s and Robinsons-May. The mixed-use project includes more than 120 stores, a home improvement component and 500 apartments on 129 acres. Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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