Santa Paula, CA – As Santa Paula rebounds from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City continues to explore ways to boost its local economy. To support local businesses and attract more visitors, the City has started implementing beautification initiatives and rekindling tourism opportunities.
As the economic epicenter and cultural heart of the City, the historic downtown district is a primary focus of the City’s effort to increase visitor and resident traffic in the area. The Santa Paula Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) was recently renewed by the Santa Paula City Council. As part of its beautification program, PBID set aside $50,000 to support facade improvements for local businesses. If the Facade Improvement Program is approved by the City Council later this year, downtown business owners will have an opportunity to apply for these funds to improve their street-facing features and help beautify the City.
In addition to the PBID renewal and facade improvement efforts, the City has forged partnerships with the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, local business owners and residents to ensure that the City of Santa Paula remains business-friendly and attracts new business development opportunities that will benefit the community. The City facilitates regular roundtable outreach meetings for the local business community to collaborate on strategies that will benefit businesses as well as the entire Santa Paula community. Recent events, such as the Farmer's Market and Cruise Nights, have also been a part of the City’s strategy to increase economic opportunity and community engagement.
“The City’s current multi-pronged strategy for economic development and partnering with our local businesses is exciting,” said Mayor Jenny Crosswhite. “Whether it is partnering with the PBID to bring improvements to the downtown corridor, working with new and existing businesses to rethink how we utilize our commercial spaces, or efforts to grow our business community, the ultimate goal is to attract more visitors to our town, and increase revenues and employment opportunities.”
Since the beginning of 2022, 24 new businesses have opened in Santa Paula. These new businesses include multiple restaurants and retail stores, such as Bank of Books and Santa Paula Craft House, as well as large chain grocery store Superior Grocers opening in late August. Not only does this growth offer more amenities and create new jobs for residents, but it also creates an inviting environment for visitors to explore.
The City has been coordinating with the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce, the town of Piru, City of Fillmore, and the County of Ventura through the Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau to promote the region as a tourist destination. The Heritage Valley Tourism Bureau is currently working on a new, interactive website to showcase all the attractions and experiences the area has to offer.
The interactive features of the new website will entice visitors with a game-like setup. Users will be able to build a customized trip around the attractions they find most compelling, whether that is a camping trip out at Lake Piru or a night in the historic Glen Tavern Inn.
As part of the City’s efforts to increase tourism, the City is partnering with Sierra Northern and its sister company, Mendocino Railway, to restore the former tourist trains that brought visitors from Ventura County and beyond to experience the historic charm of Santa Paula. Sierra Northern will be temporarily moving their headquarters to the Santa Paula Hay & Grain building, and the City is currently working with the railroad company to determine the extent of both freight and tourism operations.
"What we really want to see is the return of tourist-based services and the charm of old classic trains,” said Santa Paula City Manager Dan Singer. “We are working with Sierra Northern to ensure that tourist trains are brought back to the Heritage Valley, not just freight operations and storage."
To learn more about the City’s economic development efforts, visit the Economic Development website.