2014 Award Winners

Award for Business Retention and Expansion

City of Lake Forest: G.R.O.W. (Growing and Retaining our Workforce in Lake Forest)

With collaboration between the City of Lake Forest, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, and the OC One-Stop Center, the GROW program works to create jobs by attracting new companies, and retain existing jobs by assisting current companies with employee needs. This program stood out as a great example of a city that is taking a hands-on leadership role in addressing economic development concerns. The City of Lake Forest proactively worked with its major employers to assess the area’s needs in terms of attracting and retaining business, and leveraged partnerships with existing workforce programs to create a robust program that has successfully strengthened the city’s economy. In 2013, over 180 new businesses made Lake Forest home, creating industry diversity and adding over 700 new jobs.

 The City of Orange received an honorable mention in the category of Business Retention and Expansion for its retention and expansion of the Ayres Hotel Orange.

City of Orange: The Ayres Hotel Orange

The 139-room Ayres Hotel opened in July 2014, and is the result of a multi-year economic development effort to retain and expand business in the City of Orange during the recession, a particularly tough time on the tourism industry. Despite the challenges presented by the recession and elimination of redevelopment agencies, the city and Ayres Hotel ownership gracefully moved through bureaucratic red tape at both the state and county level to acquire unused land and speed up approval. During a time when many commercial development projects stalled out, the collaboration successfully resulted in the retention and expansion of the beautiful Ayres Hotel Orange, creation of 50 new full-time jobs, and generation of new tax revenue to the City of Orange. 

Award for Sustainable and Green Development

OC Parks and OC Public Works: Haster Basin Recreation Park

The Haster Basin Recreation capitalized on a great opportunity to improve a 100-year-old flood protection system, while also adding two acres of high-quality park land to an area in need of recreational space. What was previously a lightly-used jogging path is now a highly-frequented park with an updated jogging path, added soccer fields, new facilities, a playground, and much-needed water quality improvement.  The community support for this project is outstanding, with noticeably increased traffic through the park since its opening in February.

 Award for Real Estate Redevelopment and Reuse

City of Santa Ana: Terraces at Santiago and Depot at Santiago

The Terraces at Santiago and Depot at Santiago both provide much needed affordable workforce housing in the City of Santa Ana, while also planning around transportation needs and creating additional retail space. Santa Ana has the second densest housing rate following San Francisco. To address this issue, the city creatively leveraged local and federal funds to build two properties that provide affordable housing to the lowest income brackets. Also, as the first properties built using Santa Ana’s Transit Zoning Code, the proximity near the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center will provide working families convenient access to public transportation, and is a catalyst for future transportation/housing building models.

 Award for Responding to Globalization

Capistrano Unified School District: Two-way Language Immersion Programs

Capistrano Unified School District began the Two-Way Language Immersion Program in 1992, with English/Spanish programs. The dual language program teaches students to think, read, write, and communicate naturally in two languages — starting language study in kindergarten. The district expanded this program to Mandarin/English instruction in 2012 at Bergeson Elementary in Laguna Niguel in response to the growing popularity of the language worldwide.  In order to remain competitive in a global environment, where it is the norm for employees to speak more than one language, our students need access to high-quality language education at a young age. Over 6,000 students are currently involved in the program throughout the district, and students graduate high school with a Seal of Biliteracy, a coveted distinction by both colleges and employers. The development of multilingual students has created multicultural bonds both at home and abroad, and is a program that can be replicated on a larger scale.

 Award for Public-Private Partnership

The City of Anaheim: World-Class Partnerships

As a major tourist and business destination for Orange County, the City of Anaheim has a long history of completing large-scale construction projects to facilitate the millions of people that travel to and from the area annually. Faced with a history of re-occurring themes that negatively impacted the success of such projects, the city assessed the cause and determined that a new, more cooperative process was needed to keep all involved parties on track and working together.  Thus, the World Class Partnership process was established to improve quality and efficiency, and has resulted in over $24 million in savings for taxpayers on one project alone. The new process was first applied to the $76 million Gene Autry Way Overpass Project in 2011, and was so successful in speed and cost savings that the model is now being used to complete ARTIC and the Anaheim Convention Center expansion.

 The City of Dana Point received an honorable mention in the category of Public-Private Partnerships for its Tourism Business Improvement District program.

The City of Dana Point: Dana Point Business Improvement District

In order to remain competitive within Southern California’s tourism industry and to create growth opportunity during the recession, the City of Dana Point partnered with the area’s four largest resorts to create a new Tourism Business Improvement District. By partnering with the private sector, allowing local business to set goals and combine similar marketing plans, the city was able to capitalize on its tourism industry cluster. Including hosting numerous large scale events to attract new visitors, such as the 2013 Elephant Parade international art exhibit and the 2014 IlluminOcean. Since its creation, the district’s efforts have resulted in over $2.46 million in booked room revenue and have collected over $4 million in new marketing funds, which is reinvested to grow even more tourist attraction. 

 Leadership Award

Anaheim Police Department: Homeless Outreach Program

During the last two years the Anaheim Police Department showed strength and unwavering leadership to keep residents safe and address the needs of the community in the face of a period of civil unrest. For their efforts, OCBC honors them in leadership.

In addition, the department has compassionately addressed a significant homeless population.  In 2013 the department responded to an average of 503 homeless-related calls each month, a 27 percent increase from 2012. Although the incident may have been resolved, the homeless person’s situation remained unchanged — consequently, there was a high likelihood of a repeat incident. The department created the Homeless Outreach Program to solve the problem head on by addressing the underlying issue of homelessness. The approach centers on pursuing resources to help homeless people get off the street at the time of the call for service, working with OC’s public agencies and nonprofits to provide mental health services, transportation to shelter, job training, and other assistance needed on a case-by-case basis. In the first quarter of 2014 the monthly average of calls dropped 13 percent. During this time, the team contacted 461 homeless individuals, of which they assisted 215 in getting off the street.

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