Saratoga city council working to promote economic development

The Saratoga City Council on May 1 approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to work on promoting economic development in the city’s commercial areas.

The committee, which Vice Mayor Belal Aftab and Councilmember Chuck Page are spearheading, will return to the council in at most six months with feedback from the public and a series of suggestions on how the city can get involved in promoting economic development in Saratoga. Page said he expects the committee will begin by hosting listening sessions with members of the public in the near future.

Several members of the public, business owners and residents alike, spoke in favor of supporting the city’s local businesses.

“I think our downtown is a bit on life support,” a resident said during the council meeting.

The committee was formed after the council at its Feb. 21 meeting directed staff to return at May 1 to discuss economic development in Saratoga, and specifically in its downtown area along Big Basin Way.

The city has been invested in the matter of economic development in the Saratoga Village and beyond for decades, according to a staff report presented at the meeting. Despite efforts to remove the barriers for small businesses to thrive and encouraging events in the city that will draw visitors from outside Saratoga, council members wanted to invest more energy in the cause.

“The Village is near and dear to my heart,” Councilmember Kookie Fitzsimmons said of Saratoga’s downtown. “I think it’s a reasonable request to form an ad hoc committee.”

They also voted unanimously to approve four applications totaling $7,400 for the city’s community event grant program for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The events include the dragon boat festival, a Serbian food festival, a day of action hosted by Congregation Beth David and a public art contest called “Saratoga, My Home.”

“I think it’s just great to see the community organizations bring community together, [and] foster a kind of belonging,” Mayor Yan Zhao said.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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