State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) announced today that his top budget priorities were included and fully funded in Budget Act of 2021. Senator Newman’s 2021 priorities included funding to address public safety and homelessness, investments to preserve additional open space at West Coyote Hills and expanded arts and cultural programming at the architecturally important Hunt Library.
- $31.2 million to extend and expand the North Orange County Public Safety Task Force.
- $28.5 million to acquire the last remaining substantial open space in North Orange County, West Coyote Hills.
- $2.75 million to revitalize the Hunt Library in the City of Fullerton.
The North Orange County Public Safety Task Force was created in 2017 following the Senator’s budget request. The Task Force devises regional solutions to homelessness, youth violence and the challenges associated with post-incarceration reentry. The Task Force funding was set to expire this month under the terms of its original budget grant. Today’s action expands the successful initiative to three additional cities and extends programming for another year with augmented funding.
The Task Force has proven to be an innovative, regional model to improve public safety that could be replicated in clusters of small- and medium-sized cities across California. As evidence, during the last two years of the program, law enforcement made no arrests of homeless individuals. Given the critical importance of resolving homelessness, youth violence and post-incarceration reentry, the additional $31.2 million in funding will allow for this creative and collaborative regional approach to expand to additional cities and reach high-risk populations while continuing to keep our communities safe.
State funding for West Coyote Hills, which is slated for development, instead will conserve the land for future generations to enjoy.
Located in the City of Fullerton and adjacent to the cities of La Habra, Buena Park and La Mirada, West Coyote Hills has 510 acres of contiguous open space, which is unique in a region of small cities that are chronically underserved by adequate parks and general open space.
The funding acquisition will complete a West Coyote Hills open space plan that provides significant park access to an area characterized by substantial ethnic and racial diversity. Purchase of the 224 acres of the west side of the parcel will complete and preserve the entire the 510-acre tract.
In 2016, Senator Newman worked with Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva and the nonprofit group Friends of the Coyote Hills to secure $15 million for the acquisition of 145 of the 510 acres at the east side of the property. Senator Newman was pleased to work with Assemblymember Quirk-Silva again to secure the additional $28.5 million, which will assist in saving the western parcels so that West Coyote Hills may remain both a viable intact habitat for the threatened plants and birds that survive there and a welcome nature preserve for the area’s residents.
The acquisition and preservation of West Coyote Hills maintains the spirit and aims of Governor Newsom’s executive order last October to preserve and protect 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030.
Lastly, Senator Newman and Assemblymember Quirk-Silva’s joint request of $2.75 million will provide for the completion of the Hunt Library Revitalization Project and cover start-up funding for the arts, cultural and library programming and services that will commence at the site in the spring of 2022.
Opened in 1962, the Hunt Library remains one of the most historically important buildings in Orange County. World-renowned titan of California industry, Norton Simon, commissioned the famed architect William L. Pereira to design the Hunt Center, which included the Hunt Library. With striking elements of the International Style – simple materials, rectilinear lines, repeated modular patterns – the diminutive structure is an exemplar of the modernist movement in architecture and a unique contribution to Southern California’s built environment.
The building was donated to the City of Fullerton by the Norton Simon Foundation and Hunt Foods and was deeded to be used as a library in perpetuity. The structure is designated a local landmark.
After the Hunt Center ceased to be used in its initial capacity as a corporate headquarters, the library became inoperable and fell into despair. The City of Fullerton and a committed “friends of the library” group endeavored to preserve the building and ensure that it remains a source of cultural enrichment for the broader community.
The $2.75 million will complete the Hunt Library’s Revitalization Project so that the library may once again serve as a cultural landmark for the community.