Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse.
Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse speaks about the city’s achievements during the past year as well as future plans for the city during the South Coast Chamber of Commerce’s event Wednesday morning. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)
Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura.

Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura gives the Carpinteria State of the City address. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara South Coast Chamber of Commerce brought mayors and city staff from Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria together for the State of the City event on Wednesday, where updates on each community were provided.

While each of the three cities have held individual State of the City events in the past, this is the first in-person combined State of the City event with all three cities.

“This does feel historic to have brought them all together in one event so that our business members can come and hear from all three cities at one time,” said Kristen Miller, South Coast Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “[The Chamber] tries to set the stage or set an example of collaboration, and so having all three cities agree to do this was amazing. It sends the message that it’s better when we act regionally.”

While all three communities were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, mayors discussed the ways each South Coast city is overcoming those challenges — from parklets, such as those in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, to COVID-19 recovery efforts and partnerships with the county’s Public Health Department.

“We provided COVID relief efforts, including emergency rental assistance and individual grants, shelter and rapid rehousing programs, meals for seniors, child care scholarships, and small business loans and grants,” Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte said. “We partnered with Public Health to distribute more than 10,000 COVID-19 test kits for the community.”

Plans for future projects also were shared Wednesday, such as initiatives to improve transportation infrastructure, Internet access and the community center in Goleta.

In Carpinteria, Mayor Wade Nomura shared that the Carpinteria Community Library will be opening on July 1 and construction for the Carpinteria Skate Park will begin this summer.

Santa Barbara City Administrator Rebecca Bjork.

Santa Barbara City Administrator Rebecca Bjork provides an update on the financial state of the city. (Serena Guentz / Noozhawk photo)

“I’d like to say that Carpinteria has a great balance between small-town charm and a real self-sufficiency that we have,” Nomura said. “The caring and giving of this community is what makes us resilient, what makes us strong and what makes us move forward.”

Meanwhile, Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse highlighted the $15.5 million Las Positas and Modoc Road Multi-Use Path project that was completed in March, the success of the State Street Promenade, and the return of cruise ships.

Upcoming projects in Santa Barbara include a $9 million project to improve the Santa Barbara Public Library and its outdoor plaza, and projects to improve De La Guerra Plaza and the Santa Barbara police station.

“Our dedicated finance staff is helping your city council lay out a multiyear plan to address the budget challenges brought on in the last couple of years,” Rowse said. “While our successful outcome requires discipline and proven fiscal planning, we’re optimistic about the future as we emerge from difficulties of this pandemic and reimagine our business districts.”

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Serena Guentz, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Serena Guentz can be reached at sguentz@noozhawk.com.