Kylie Kowalske | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo’s mayor and city manager formally addressed community members at the 2022 State of the City Address for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were not without our hardships over the past few years,” San Luis Obispo Mayor Erica A. Stewart said in a video presentation at the event. “Despite the challenges we have faced, we have endured and come together in times of crisis to emerge stronger, more resilient and more connected as a community.”

The address covered the progress of municipal projects and the Major City Goals over the past few years and went over upcoming projects. These projects ranged from infrastructure updates to developing affordable housing to expanding parks and recreation services.

Mustang News reviewed the presentation and broke down the main points.

  • The City launched its Mobile Crisis Unit on June 6, consisting of an Emergency Medical Technician and a social worker. This unit will serve community members suffering from mental health issues and homelessness.
  • The City completed three affordable housing projects in 2021 that are reserved for low-income residents as part of the Major City Goal to increase affordable housing for all. The housing development projects are ongoing and will include middle-income housing in the future.
  • A 2020-2021 DEI task force made recommendations to the City that are now underway, including opening an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and hiring a DEI manager.
  • The City’s efforts toward pandemic economic recovery — like supporting more than 200 small businesses, creating incentives for shopping locally and supporting Mission Pop-Ups to bring people to the downtown area — has paid off a bit. The business vacancy rate downtown is down to 7% as of April 2022 compared to 12% at the height of the pandemic.
  • The City has allocated $2 million of its affordable housing fund and $1.7 million of the American Rescue Plan Act funding towards housing projects that will specifically help people experiencing homelessness.
  • The City is working on expanding the capacity at the 40 Prado Homeless Services Center and opening new safe parking sites, which aim to provide a safe place for people to stay in their vehicles.
  • The City invested $66 million in infrastructure projects including new bike paths and maintenance of roadways. They rebuilt the Marsh Street bridge and expanded the railroad safety pedestrian-bike trail.
  • The San Luis Obispo General Plan has been updated to include a parks and recreation plan through 2041. The priorities of this new plan include sustainability, inclusion and access.
  • The City aims to have carbon-neutral municipal operations by 2030. They are working on implementing renewable energy in City facilities and transitioning to electric vehicles.

The event was held on May 25 at the San Luis Obispo Library with a livestream. For the full State of the City Address, watch the full recording of the event or the 10-minute highlight video.