Infanti cites 2023’s achievements, makes city plans for the upcoming year
By Mark Infanti
As we enter the holiday season, Solvang has much to be thankful for. We are seeing some of the most tourist visits we have seen in a while. A great example was the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Solvang’s central park. The entire park was completely full of people there to see a local music group, local young people’s dance group and a 7-year-old lead them in the countdown to the tree lighting. That was followed the very next day by the very well-attended Julefest Parade.
2023 saw the reopening of our beloved outdoor theater called Theaterfest, and the preparations to start construction on our new Solvang Senior Center. These and other projects support the City Council’s aim of providing health and well-being for our citizens in general and our seniors specifically.
The future of Solvang is strong. Everyone wishes to maintain the architectural style that adds to the character of our charming city. We are making this a strong part of our General Plan update. It is also emphasized in the city marketing efforts, as it is essential to our future.
Like all cities, we are always maintaining and upgrading our city infrastructure. This includes adding electric vehicles and charging stations to the city. We have capital plans to update our wastewater treatment plant to increase capacity and produce recycled water for irrigation and so that we can consider granting the requests for neighboring towns to use our plant and share in its additional capacity.
We are seeing new housing plans that will help fulfill our local needs for moderate-cost housing. Since Solvang is such a desirable place to live, people move here frequently, which means there is very litle residential inventory and the housing costs have risen substantially. Housing is necessary for those that want to live and work here. We are dedicated to making that happen.
To support the youth interests and those that would choose a sustainable type of transportation, additional bicycle and walking paths are being planned. To support these paths, there are also traffic calming designs being considered.
Being the mayor is a great pleasure. I was a City Council member before becoming mayor and previously served on the Design Review Committee before that. I have had the opportunity to help make sure that Solvang stays the charming town it has always been.
My vision for 2024 is to help businesses be successful and ensure the residents retain the quality of life necessary to be happy here.