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Mayor’s column: don’t risk a fireworks citation

WHITTIER — The outcry has been loud and clear…fireworks are out of control in Whittier.

As you have heard, at a specially called City Council meeting, the Whittier City Council approved a new municipal code section on fireworks that holds property owners responsible for violations of fireworks occurring on their property. Our police officers do not need to see who lights the firework, they just need to see it leave your property.

When officers observe fireworks coming from a backyard, side yard, front yard, etc., they will issue a $1,000 citation to the homeowner or responsible person. Be a good neighbor and don’t risk a hefty fine.

The Uptown Whittier Parking structure began construction on January 21, and has met significant milestones for completion during the last six months. While most businesses have been negatively impacted due to the COVID pandemic, the project, in compliance with LA County Health Department and state regulations, has continued to move forward during construction.
The foundation and load bearing walls were completed in March, and the structure is finally going vertical with level one completed as of this week! Staff expects levels two and three to be done by the end of July.

After the structure is in place, aesthetic treatments will be added to make sure the structure is striking as well as functional. This may even include a neat local mural on one of the ground level walls. We are looking forward to accommodating more residents and visitors in the Uptown area once the final structure is up and running in January 2021.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 cases have been on the rise over the last few weeks and the Public Health Department is continuing to mandate actions that discourage gatherings, whether public or private, especially as we embark on a long holiday weekend. Beaches in LA and Orange County are now closed through Monday morning, and Governor Newsom announced that indoor activities like family fun centers, movie theaters, and also restaurants, must close for up to three weeks while we attempt to slow the curve of cases yet again.

It is imperative that we not go backwards and that we all take necessary precautions to mitigate the transmission of the virus right now. This includes social distancing measures and wearing a mask when you aren’t at home.

To assist local restaurants and businesses with serving additional customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has worked collaboratively with the Whittier Uptown Association, the Uptown Whittier Improvement Association, the Whittier Chamber and our business owners to create a temporary closure along three blocks of Greenleaf Avenue in Uptown Whittier.
The new, pedestrian-friendly “Greenleaf Promenade” is open for outdoor dining during the week from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and is anticipated to last through October. We had a great soft opening and the few restaurants that were ready in time for service reported busy wait times and a jump in sales. Our alfresco experience was great!

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Staff has been coordinating with many other restaurants between Wardman and Hadley who are hoping to have their dining set-up ready for the holiday weekend. As a reminder, safety is our top priority so businesses and visitors are required to adhere to all County public health protocols and ensure social distancing measures are in place. Visitors are also reminded that face coverings are mandatory and to allow space between yourself and others while strolling the area.

We are looking forward to watching this grow into something special and continue to serve our business community as they weather the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The Parks, Recreation & Community Services staff, along with our Library staff, will join forces this summer to offer pop-up recreation and library books at different locations throughout the City. The Rec & Read program will begin July 6th and run from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. at Michigan Park.

Each week the Library’s Book Mobile will offer library card services, reading program information, and bags of books to check-out. The PRCS staff will be offering grab-and-go crafts, pop-up obstacle courses, and outdoor recreation ideas for families.

Watch on social media for the location and time that staff will be “popping in” just before arrival at some fun spots around town.

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