City of Santa Clarita Wins Helen Putnam Award for 10th Year

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Editors Note: The following article is a news release provided by the city of Santa Clarita.

For the 10th year, the City of Santa Clarita received the League of California Cities’ Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, at the League’s annual conference and expo on September 30th, 2015.

The award was given in the category of Economic Development through the Arts for the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District.

Since 1989, when the Santa Clarita City Council formed the Redevelopment Agency and the Newhall Project in 1997, the City has been working to revitalize Newhall through public infrastructure, economic development and the arts. The goal was to create a vibrant Old Town Newhall and Entertainment District, rebranding the historic identity of Old Town Newhall to attract new visitors, shoppers and businesses.

These efforts resulted in new rail and walkway alignments, the Veterans Historical Plaza, the 17,000 square-foot Community Center and the LEED Gold-certified 30,000 square-foot Old Town Newhall Library.

In 2011, when the state of California halted Redevelopment funding for cities, Santa Clarita was undaunted in its push forward to boost the area’s economy. Focusing on encouraging arts and entertainment, local business and retail spending, the City worked to change perceptions about Old Town Newhall with the development of Thursdays@Newhall. Featuring ArtSLAM, JAM SessionsSENSES and Revved Up, along with community events, Thursdays@Newhall integrates the arts into the culture of Newhall, attracting new developers and retailers, and providing a nightlife opportunity for visitors.

The Economic Development strategy behind the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District has yielded a high return on investment. In less than three years, the tax base for Old Town Newhall has increased by 60 percent; part-one crimes have decreased by 11 percent; and 22 new businesses have opened in the area, including several art-inspired stores, wine bars, boutique clothing stores, hair salons, day spas and restaurants. To date, the Thursdays@Newhall event series has attracted more than 40,000 people to the Old Town Newhall Arts District.

The Council also recently approved the City to enter exclusive negotiations with Laemmle Theatres and Serrano Development Group for a proposed arts theater and mixed use development project in Old Town Newhall.

“At a time when many cities are forgoing the creative for the cost-effective, the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District illustrates how a comprehensive strategy focused on investment in the arts pays off,” said Mayor Marsha McLean.

This is the tenth year the City of Santa Clarita has won Helen Putnam Awards for Excellence. The City has won 12 Helen Putnam Awards total. In 2014, the City won in the category of Cities Counties Schools Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award for the Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT) Program.

The Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Program holds a long tradition with all California cities as being a coveted and premier award, recognizing outstanding achievements in a variety of categories that deliver the highest quality service in the most effective manner possible.

For more information about the California League of Cities, please visit For more information about the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence Program, please visit

For more information about the City of Santa Clarita’s economic development efforts in the Old Town Newhall Arts and Entertainment District, please contact Communications Manager Gail Morgan at (661) 255-4314 or or visit

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