LYNWOOD, Calif. — The city of Lynwood just turned 100 years old, and as city staff reflect on the past, they say they’re ready to make changes for the future of this small, underserved community.
Lynwood’s mayor, senior city councilman and brand new city manager in particular noted that they have big plans for the next chapter.
What You Need To Know
- The city of Lynwood just turned 100 years old
- Lynwood’s mayor said the city has big plans for the next chapter
- Mayor Marisela Santana says they’re finally replacing more than 100 roads, gutters and the water main lines underneath them for the first time in 70 years
- Santana added that she’s also making sure to find funding in the next two-year budget for new speed bumps throughout the city
Lynwood has made numerous headlines in the last few months, but Mayor Marisela Santana says the spotlight is usually inauspicious — record COVID deaths, a baby found deserted in a park, even a deputy shot in a shootout just weeks ago.
But as she looks to the next 100 years, Santana explained that she wants to revamp this small town — starting from the ground up.
"The city has had to spend millions of dollars on fixing broken water lines," she said. "We’re always reacting to things."
But now, Santana says, they’re finally being proactive — replacing more than 100 roads, gutters and the water main lines underneath them for the first time in 70 years.
The mayor added that across the city, they would see water line breaks so severe that entire streets would be flooded.
Santana and City Councilman José Luis Solache recently showed Lynwood’s new city manager some of the areas that need the most attention, turning onto one of the roads known to be the worst in town: Louise Street.
Solache says he’s proud to see progress here. Road repairs were on the top of his list when he was elected eight years ago.
"As a kid, I grew up in this community," he said. "So these issues are important for me, not only as a member of this council, but as a resident."
Other residents like Lucinda Guerrero tell city staff it’s about time. She’s lived here for 40 years and showed video from what the street looked like before the repairs began. Her husband would have to sweep the rocks before she drove off.
"It took this long, finally it’s done and I’m glad," Guerrero said.
The street repairs are one of several major investments Lynwood's city council is making to turn over a new leaf.
Ernie Hernandez was just brought on as Lynwood’s new city manager and tasked with helping to improve the overall outlook and economic growth in the underserved community. He is starting with one of their largest vacant lots on the corner of Louise Street and is hopeful city staff will be able to secure the first big box retailer in the city.
But Hernandez has his work cut out for him, as he noted that the land is contaminated from the gas station that used to be there. Several developers have already decided to set up shop elsewhere.
"If we don’t get involved, even though we didn’t do it, as far as contaminating the land, it will stay contaminated, and it will be undeveloped, and our community is what’s going to suffer," Hernandez said.
The community is already suffering in many ways, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Hernandez showed a corridor filled with vacant small businesses that they’re now working to bring back or redevelop with new federal dollars.
"Without our involvement, it will simply be this, which is blight, which is a code enforcement issue, which is trash," Hernandez explained. "So we have to take an active role to ensure that the community can benefit more from something that works for this specific region.”
They are details that the centennial mayor says have been overlooked for far too long.
"We have a new city manager who is going to look outside the box and help us remedy these things in our community that matter," Santana said, adding that she’s also making sure to find funding in the next two-year budget for new speed bumps throughout the city, as well as a new initiative she says she’s launching in the next month to clean up Lynwood’s streets.
It's a new perspective for Lynwood on its 100th birthday, as city leaders work to make major improvements.