City manager Urrutia gives last address, sees continued growth

State of the City
By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
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Rocklin’s population stood at approximately 9,000 people 25 years ago, before City Manager Carlos Urrutia joined the city. At that time, the city was in need of a city manager to help manage a growth spurt in the near future, Mayor Scott Yuill said during Rocklin’s State of the City introduction Friday. “Because of Carlos’ leadership, he led Rocklin when it became one of California’s fastest-growing cities,” Yuill said to the crowd. Combined with regional growth and plenty of room to grow, Rocklin was ready. “Rocklin had a very comprehensive and very well developed general plan … the city was in the path of growth,” Urrutia said. “The Sacramento region was just about to boom and Rocklin would boom right along with it.” Friday’s State of the City lunch, held at Coach’s Restaurant inside Strikes Entertainment Center, was Urrutia’s last address as city manager, as he retired in January, but is working part-time through the end of the year. Urrutia will be assisting the city in training his replacement, expected to take over at the end of the year. Despite Urrutia leaving in an economic downturn, he said he’s confident the city will be in good hands. “I am not worried about the future,” Urrutia said. “I think the future for Rocklin is bright. The recession will end and we will be able to move forward.” In Rocklin’s future are — approving a new general plan, which will include a campaign for the city’s downtown, new commercial projects and road improvements. Urrutia said the city’s general plan for the next 20 years will be brought to the city council’s attention in July and will include downtown revitalization that will implement roundabouts within the city. Urrutia said there are many new commercial developments in the works. Rocklin Commons, a 415,000-square-foot center, will include two anchor tenants at Sierra College Boulevard and Interstate 80. Urrutia said the project is “ready to go.” Blue Oaks Cinema 16 is expected to bring in more business to the Blue Oaks Town Center, after the center struggled with Mervyns’ closing. The theater will “revitalize” the center after it opens around Thanksgiving, with construction beginning this spring, Urrutia said. Also underway are commercial and storage projects in the Del Mar/ Pacific Street area, working with Loomis on widening Sierra College Boulevard near Rocklin Road and Interstate 80 and moving the city’s library to a new, larger location at the corner of Rocklin Road and Granite Drive. The city faces dwindling revenue, but plans to redevelop. Urrutia said a down economy is a strong time to revitalize. “In recessions, the cities do well in terms of building projects because the bidding environment is excellent,” Urrutia said. Urrutia said there are three factors that will contribute to Rocklin’s success in the future — the means to make a quick turnaround when the economy improves, a strong team and community involvement. “We have the tools in place to hit the ground running when the economy turns around,” he said. When the recession hit, Urrutia said it made a significant impact on the city — revenues were lost throughout the departments. “We never expected it to hit so fast and so sudden,” Urrutia said. “The cuts have been across the board. Not one department hasn’t taken a hit.” At the State of the City conclusion, Urrutia was given a lifetime membership to the Rocklin Area Chamber of Commerce for his service.