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L.A. Kings To Assist In Operation Of Santa Clarita Ice And Entertainment Center



Photo Courtesy of the City of Santa Clarita

The Los Angeles Kings organization is expected to assist in the operation of the City-owned Santa Clarita Ice and Entertainment Center.

The L.A. Kings, along with American Sports Entertainment Centers (ASEC) which operate 23 sports facilities across the country, are set to be awarded a five-year contract to operate the facility, if approved by the City Council, according to the agenda for the Feb. 23 meeting. 

“The Los Angeles Kings are synonymous with ice hockey in Southern California,” said Assistant City Manager Frank Oviedo in a statement. “Being able to bring in ASEC and the Kings as the operators of our Ice and Entertainment facility would bring the knowledge, expertise and experience to provide a world-class experience to all user-groups. We are excited at the prospect of this agreement and look forward to welcoming the community back into the former Ice Station for ice sports, meetings, conventions, events, fundraisers, mixers and so much more.”

Across five years, the City is expected to pay over $9 million for the operation of the ice rink, with the option of two additional five-year renewals, according to City documents. 

On Aug. 25, 2020, the Santa Clarita City Council approved the acquisition of the property formerly known as the Valencia Ice Station on Smyth Drive, according to the agenda.

“Since the acquisition was complete, City staff have been diligently working on many aspects of the Ice and Entertainment Center to ensure its consistency with other City facilities in providing a high quality of life for members of the community through programming and recreational offerings,” the agenda reads.

Specifically, staff members have been undergoing an extensive process to address facility improvements, technology improvements, communications branding and the selection of an operator.

For this facility, because improvements were funded by both taxable and tax-exempt bonds, private use of the facility is limited to 25%. In addition, it is important the City maintain a certain level of control over the manner in which the facility is managed, according to the agenda item.

The City is expected to maintain oversight of certain operations, including marketing, sponsorship and special events. The contract amount for each fiscal year consists of an operating budget, base management fee, and an annual incentive management fee of 10 percent of revenue greater than $2,500,000 annually.

On Jan. 19, American Sports Entertainment Company and the Los Angeles Kings were  selected out of six applicants that applied to move forward to the negotiation and award phase of the process. 

“ASEC/Kings demonstrated an in-depth understanding of the scope of work and provided a detailed operations approach,” said City officials.

As operator the ASEC and Kings act as a manager of the Ice and Entertainment Center, providing all staffing, supplies, furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory for sale, amenities, routine maintenance, repairs, services and other items as may be required to support the operation and management of a quality municipal ice facility, according to the City.

At 93,000-square-feet, the Ice and Entertainment Center is expected to once again host hockey, figure skating, curling and recreational skating.

The management companies are set to provide programming, including hockey leagues and birthday parties, as well as the operation of the pro shop and equipment rentals. 

The facility is not only expected to host sporting but other events as well. Imagine banquets, mixers, conventions, concerts, charity galas, sporting competitions and more taking place on covered ice, said City of Santa Clarita officials. 

“We have spent a lot of time speaking with user groups who are thrilled about the future of this facility,” said Oviedo. “Their excitement is contagious, and City staff are really enjoying the process of revamping the building and are looking forward to how it will benefit our community – not only those who participate in ice sports, but also as a hub for community gatherings and other events.” 

Complimenting the updated color scheme that residents will see on the outside of the building, revamped aesthetics inside give a nod to the location’s legacy and the history of skating and ice sports in Santa Clarita, according to the City. 

“The visuals are not the only things being updated before residents can take the ice once more,” said City officials. “Crews have been hard at work cleaning the facility from top to bottom, installing lighting for various events and ensuring everything is up to the City’s high standards.”

The Santa Clarita Ice and Entertainment Center is expected to open in the coming months, a City spokesperson said Friday.

Note: This story has been updated with an additional statement from the City of Santa Clarita.

Community News

L.A. Mayor Signs Camping Ordinance Aimed At Restricting Homeless Encampments



Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance on Friday aimed at restricting homeless encampments in certain areas of the city.

The ordinance, which is set to take effect 30 days from the signing date, bans camping near “sensitive” facilities including within 500 feet of schools, daycares, parks and libraries, according to the  L.A. City Council agenda.

In addition, the measure also restricts sitting, lying, or sleeping as well as storing, using, maintaining and placing personal property in any public right-of-way such as ramps, driveways or bike lanes, among others.

On Wednesday, the council voted 13-2 to approve the measure before Garcetti’s signature. 

Councilmembers Mike Bonin and Nithya Raman voiced opposition to the ordinance, with Bonin recalling his own struggle with housing.

“Some of those nights I slept in the car, some of those nights, when my car was in the shop, I slept on the beach. I cannot tell you how much turmoil is in your heart when the sun is setting and you don’t know where to sleep,” Bonin said. “I cannot tell you how demoralizing and dehumanizing and defeating that experience is when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep.”

City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said the measure helps regulate shared public spaces while “acting with compassion and purpose” to help people experiencing homelessness.

“This ordinance establishes fair and clearly defined rules for how sidewalks in Los Angeles are regulated — while linking those rules to a comprehensive, compassionate strategy for street engagement that will establish reasonable pathways to positive outcomes and, ultimately, permanent homes,” O’Farrell said.

In order to enforce the new order, the City Council has to take action through a resolution to designate a certain area for enforcement, according to the ordinance.

The city plans to send out “street engagement teams,” along with law enforcement, to assist those experiencing homelessness in the designated encampment by providing connection to services, including interim housing. 

Last month, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) released a report outlining the number of shelter beds available across the county.

The number of homeless shelter beds in the L.A. region has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity, according to the agency.

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds — less than half of the estimated 66,000 people on the street countywide. 

The previous Homeless Count was conducted before the pandemic, with many housing experts and community members reporting an increase in the unhoused population in the past 18 months. 

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Community News

L.A. Homeless Shelter Capacity Up 57% In Three Years, Still Less Than Demand



Devon Miller / The Valley Post

The number of homeless shelter beds in Los Angeles has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity. 

The 2021 Housing Inventory Count and Shelter Count, released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Wednesday, shows the nightly shelter capacity in the L.A. area has grown despite challenges faced by the pandemic. 

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds, a 57% increase over the last three years. The agency also reported 33,592 permanent housing options, an increase of 16% over the same period.

Through “unprecedented coordination” and a critical influx of state and federal emergency funding, the L.A. region’s rehousing system’s response to COVID-19 saved lives, according to  Heidi Marston, executive director of LAHSA.

“We must build off of that momentum as we emerge from the pandemic to build the infrastructure necessary to address our homelessness crisis and collectively confront the conditions that continue to push people into homelessness,” Marston said in a statement. 

The Los Angeles region needs to build a more balanced system with more housing options. A balanced rehousing system has five permanent housing exits for each shelter bed; the Los Angeles system is closer to one-to-one, according to the executive director. 

The Housing Inventory Count is a census of all interim and permanent housing options in the homeless rehousing system at a given point-in-time. This year, the Housing Inventory Count occurred on Jan. 27.

LAHSA reported these results despite the global pandemic causing a considerable strain on its shelter supply. 

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, all of Los Angeles County’s congregate shelters had to decrease their bed count through a process called decompression. 

However, strategic investments by the federal, state, and local governments through Project Roomkey and Project Homekey helped make up for the loss of capacity, according to the agency.

The Shelter Count revealed that there were 17,225 people in a shelter on the night of the count, which is virtually unchanged from the previous year. 

LAHSA cited that without the addition of 2,357 Project Roomkey beds and 497 Project Homekey beds, there could have been a more significant drop in the shelter count due to decompression.

Following the advice of public health officials, LAHSA did not conduct an Unsheltered Count in 2021 to protect the 8,000 volunteers needed to complete the Count each year from COVID-19. The agency is planning to resume the Unsheltered Count in 2022.

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Community News

Home Prices In San Fernando Valley Reach New High, Median Nearing $1 Million



Los Angeles Homes

The median price of San Fernando Valley homes sold during June reached a record high while sales soared 56.9% and the number of properties listed for sale lingered at low levels.

The median price was $955,000, up 28.9% from June 2020, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

June was the fourth consecutive month with the median above the $900,000 benchmark.

“Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that the San Fernando Valley would see the median home price inching toward $1 million,” said Diane Sydell, president of the association in a statement. “Now it seems inevitable, especially with today’s wealth of buyers, dearth of inventory, and heated competition over virtually every listing.”

The condominium median price for June was $519,000, up 12.8% from June 2020, but 3.9% below the record high $540,000 set this April.

A total of 554 single-family homes closed escrow during June, up 56.9% from a year ago and 11.5% ahead of May’s tally. It was the first month this year above 500 sales and the highest monthly total since June 2018.

The statistics for condominium sales were not as dramatic, in part because of the extremely limited supply of condominiums listed for sale, according to SRAR.

There were 725 active home and condominium listings at the end of June, the first month above 700 listings this year.

“The market has been overheated and buyer fatigue may be a factor going forward,” said Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer. “Too many buyers are weary of competing with unseen competitors and losing to a higher bidder even when they come to the market fully prepared to buy. ”

That may translate in buyers being a bit more cautious, which when combined with the
reopening of the economy may yield a slowdown in sales and a few more listings.

Yet Johnson stressed that a “few more listings” doesn’t go far, even if some buyers are starting to take a bit longer to jump into the market.

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