April 18, 2024

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2024 State of the City

Please join us for a live presentation of the 2024 State of the City address on Monday, April 29th at 7pm in Council Chambers. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts and beverages will be provided. Doors open at 6:30pm. For those unable to join in person, the State of the City will also be live-streamed and recorded. Thank you for participating in whatever manner you are able. We are Gilroy, together!


Mayor Marie Blankley, CPA 

I hope the information you’re about to read will entice you to join us in person and gather together for the 2024 State of City address on April 29th. There’s a lot going on and so much to be proud of thanks to all of us in our wonderful community. We are Gilroy!

For those who may not know me, I am a Gilroy native, lifelong resident, and your mayor since 2020. I am a Gilroy High graduate (1981), Santa Clara University (1985), and have a Master degree from Golden Gate University. I’ve been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) since 1988 and opened my own CPA practice in Gilroy in 1996 where I continue to work today. I am a first-generation college graduate whose family farmed prunes in Gilroy from the 1920s to the 1980s. My father was born in Gilroy in 1928 and attended Rucker School, from which he went straight to work in the family prune orchards. My mother is an Italian immigrant who moved to Gilroy in 1962 when she and my father were married. I am the oldest of 4 children, all of us graduates of Gilroy High. My husband, Steve, and I have been married since 1995 and have two Gilroy-grown children, Andrew and Stephanie. 

I was elected to the city council in 2018, then as Mayor in 2020. I served on Gilroy’s Planning Commission from 1992-1999, and on numerous Boards of Gilroy organizations, including the Gilroy Foundation, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Gilroy Rotary, the Gilroy Assistance League, and St. Mary Church where I’ve been a lifelong parishioner.

As only the second woman Mayor in Gilroy’s 154-year history, I’d be remiss not to mention the passing of the City’s first Woman Mayor, Roberta Hughan. A trailblazer for women, Roberta passed away on March 23, 2024. I am especially proud to honor her legacy and to be serving as Mayor of my hometown where my family (and Roberta’s) has such deep roots.

State of Economic and Commercial Development in Gilroy

Getting right to it, below is a list of new businesses and commercial developments that have opened in Gilroy in the last year or are in the works. Things are happening in Gilroy!

New Commercial/Industrial

  • 6503 Cameron Blvd – Industrial Shell Buildings: Completed, tenant improvements for portions of buildings are in plan review. Building A: New 183,600 sq.ft. Building B: New 198,965 sq.ft.
  • Plaza Allium – Chestnut and 10th Street – In construction. 
  • Starbucks: New 2,174 sq.ft. building with drive-thru lanes – Completed.
  • Chick-fil-A: New 5,148 sq.ft. building with drive-thru restaurant – In construction.
  • Hyatt: New 5-story hotel with 112 guestrooms & 112 bathrooms – In plan review.
  • Circle K: New 3,948 sq.ft. convenience store & a 2,976 sq.ft. fuel canopy with 5 fuel pumps. – In plan review.
  • Blue Wave Carwash: Construction of a 3,960 sq.ft. car wash. – In plan review.
  • Nordstrom Rack: New retailer 24,516 sq.ft - located at Gilroy Crossing, completed grand opening Apr 25, 2024.
  • Gilroy Gardens: Expansion of the water attraction in construction, target for opening is May 12th, Mother’s Day.
  • Dutch Bro’s: Located Alexander and 10th St – finalizing entitlements, waiting on plan submittal.
  • Gilroy Noodle: New restaurant Noodle House located at 280 E 10th Street – In plan review.
  • Pizza My Heart: New 1,451 sq.ft. tenant improvement located at The Patio – In construction.
  • Floor & Décor: TI -58,623 sq.ft located at the old Walmart Specialty retailer of hard surface flooring & accessories – In plan review.
  • Birrieria Coalcoman: located at the old Chevy’s restaurant on Murray Ave - In construction.
  • StorQuest Self-Storage Facility: located at1000 Gilman - in plan review.
  • Pop’s Public House: Located at 1300 1st St - Open.
  • Macaco Spicy Chicken Sandwiches: located at 1280 1st St - Open.
  • AnNam Bistro & Cafe: located at 1295 First St – Open.
  • Satellite Health Care Dialysis: located at the San Ysidro Center, San Ysidro St - Open
  • Pulmuone Foods Co: $32 million reinvestment at manufacturing facility – located at 5755 Rossi Ln -Completed


  • Gilroy Bowl: Open – 7554 Monterey St.
  • 4th Street Parking Lot: Permit issued – 7601 Monterey St.
  • Savvy Sweets: Permit issued – 7357 Monterey St.
  • Aldo’s: In construction – 7423 Monterey St.
  • Covale: Permit issued – nearing completion – 7534 Gourmet Alley.
  • Camino Coffee: Open – 7300 Monterey St.
  • Rosie’s Protein Bar: Open – 7432 Monterey St.
  • Overflow Tap House: Open, Temporary Occupancy (TCO) – 7529 Monterey St.
  • Vines and Pints: Open, Temporary Occupancy (TCO) – 7511 Monterey St.
  • Pour Me Taproom: Open - 7499 Monterey St.
  • Promised Land Pizza: In construction - 7661 Monterey St.
  • Psycho Donuts / Pizza Box: Tenant Improvement – In Plan review – 7463 Monterey St.
  • Lonely Oak Brewery: Permit finaled, waiting to open – 7373 Monterey St.
  • Construction of 4 separate commercial kitchens with a single food court eating area and 1 separate complete restaurant next door – In construction – 7320 Monterey St.
  • Art Studio: In construction – 7445 Monterey St.

Gilroy Sports Park/Sharks Ice – the design of the Sharks Ice facility has been completed and will be presented to the public at the May 6th City Council meeting. The next step is to prepare the project for construction bidding. The current bidding environment is challenging, and the City and Sharks have adjusted the design in hopes of achieving a project that fits within the overall project budget.  

Gilroy Gardens – the City continues to explore opportunities for the long-term development of the 536 acres at the Gateway Recreation Area to complement the existing Gilroy Gardens Theme Park.

Street Maintenance, Transportation Services, and Infrastructure

We begin this spring with the third consecutive year of our 5-year street maintenance plan that is bringing long overdue attention to our city streets. Before we embarked on this 5-year plan two years ago, our street condition citywide was continuing to decline. As the budget allows, we are getting to as many streets as we can based on existing condition and traffic volume. Streets already in very poor condition must wait longer because their funding needs to be worked in gradually over multiple budget cycles. To see a list of street segments scheduled for maintenance this year, visit the Better Roads Ahead page on the City’s website

Construction will begin this fall on the 101/25 interchange and is anticipated to be completed in 2027. The timeline for Phase 1 is to first construct new ramps (2025), build the new bridge (2026), then demo old ramps and old bridge and finish the roadway in 2027. Traffic circulation impacts to Gilroy include the closure at 101 of Mesa Road and Castro Valley Road. Access to Gavilan College from 101 will be via Luchessa Avenue until Phase 2 brings the extension of Santa Teresa Boulevard all the way to the new 101/25 interchange. Phase 2 has received CEQA clearance (environmental clearances) and funding is currently being secured for right-of-way and construction. Also in the works are improvements to the 101/10th Street interchange that will widen 10th Street by one lane in each direction over 101 from Chestnut/Automall Pkwy to Camino Arroyo. Thank you to Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) for their support of these crucial projects for south county, and to the Council of San Benito County Governments with whom we share the 101/25 project.

As of September 2023, Gilroy has a fourth commuter train with weekday service to San Francisco and everywhere in between. Also in 2023, weekday bus service to Salinas was restored. It has been a long struggle, and still going, to get viable public transportation services that reach Gilroy, but the Gilroy Transit Center is poised to one day be a transit hub with multi-model transportation options in all directions. High-speed rail is making significant strides but still decades out from service in Gilroy. In the meantime, VTA and CalTrain are taking steps now to improve transit service from south county that will entice more people to use public transportation for commuting purposes and relieve traffic congestion. Thank you to VTA and CalTrain for these continued efforts.

Currently Frontier and Charter have various active fiberoptic projects in the City as Frontier has two construction projects in the closeout phase and one pending scheduling. There are various ongoing projects throughout the City for placing and splicing of fiber in existing conduit. There is also one new permit under review. Charter has two construction projects under review and one annual programmatic permit request. There are various ongoing projects throughout the City for placing and splicing of fiber in existing conduit. These projects improve the internet highway capacity throughout the city. 

The 10th Street bridge grant application for the 2024 round was submitted at the end of February and accessed by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) in the grant portal. Awards are to be made by June 27, 2024. Until that time, no information is released by the US DOT. The application was for a total project cost of $36.9 million. The maximum grant award was requested, which is $25 million.

South County Regional Wastewater Authority (SCRWA)

Water and sewer services may not seem like exciting topics, but try living without them! Our award-winning SCRWA plant is something to seriously be proud of. Gilroy and Morgan Hill share the governance and cost of this facility in southeast Gilroy (approx. 60% Gilroy, 40% Morgan Hill), and from this facility we not only treat wastewater but also produce recycled water. Proudly at SCRWA, 100% of recycled water is delivered to users (excluding rainy seasons when there is little demand for recycled water). Plant expansions are already underway as we prepare for growing populations and the need to preserve potable water sources. Valley Water has been instrumental in increasing recycled water delivery capabilities, most recently with their new pipeline from SCRWA along Luchessa heading west. We celebrated the completion of that pipeline in 2023, and we are already in discussions for not only further expanded delivery but also to address capabilities for purified water. Thank you to Valley Water for working together with us at SCRWA to stretch the possibilities for this incredible Gilroy/Morgan Hill asset.

Improvements to Public Spaces Downtown

Public spaces in our downtown have recently seen significant change and improvements. The Gourmet Parking Lot on 7th and Eigleberry not only added 140 parking spaces, charging stations, easy access to Monterey Street, and space for special events, but also cleaned up a previously unmaintained and underutilized space that now compliments and visually exposes the Gilroy Veteran’s Hall in honor of our veterans. And that mural … Wow! Thank you Sheryl Cathers! If you haven’t seen it, take a look at 6th and Eigleberry on the west side of the Veterans Hall. 

The Pop-Up Park on Monterey Street north of the Gilroy Arts Center, affectionately named the Donald “Elvis” Prieto Park, provides green space that will soon include inclusive play equipment thanks to a grant from Amazon Web Services secured by our Gilroy Rotary Clubs. Thanks to CalTrans and a grant from their Clean California Program, we are able to make improvements to Gourmet Alley for a minimum of two blocks downtown. Where we currently have unsightly space in the public alley behind downtown buildings with exposed trash bins and poor lighting, we will soon have clean and attractive walkways with pedestrian-only space complete with seating, lighting and landscaping from which to enjoy visiting, strolling, shopping and dining. The owners of the existing buildings adjacent to the alley will have the option of opening onto the alley, be they restaurants or retail. It will be the first pedestrian-only space in our downtown and will traverse from 4th to 6th streets at a minimum (to 7th Street if the grant stretches far enough). Construction has already begun and will be completed this year.  

Thanks to the Gilroy Downtown Business Association (GDBA), the popular Downtown Live concert series continues this summer. Through multiple events, including the holiday parade, the GDBA brings fun to our downtown that attracts visitors and residents alike. Thank you to the volunteers of the GDBA.

Also exciting is the return of the Veterans’ Day Parade. 2024 will mark the third consecutive year that the Gilroy Veterans Hall has organized and executed this momentous and heartwarming event to honor our veterans.  

Ongoing efforts to increase arts and culture in our downtown continue through Gilroy’s partnership with SV Creates. Through this partnership, Gilroy saw its first Ofrenda Festival in 2023, murals painted throughout the downtown area, and the painting of the patriotic mural on the South Santa Clara Valley Memorial District’s wall along Eigleberry. The partnership has also supported the second annual Chalk Festival, and upcoming projects including the Gallery in the Alley – Capos Murals project. The second year of project funding under the grant program is anticipated to be announced by June of 2024.

Housing and Unhoused Services

Like all jurisdictions statewide, Gilroy strives to meet state housing goals based on criteria set by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). In the February 2023 Spotlight with the Mayor, you’ll find great detail on housing in Gilroy, the number of housing units we’ve been “assessed” to add by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), and the number of units we’ve met within various categories of affordability. See https://gilroy.primegov.com/portal/item/14655 for Gilroy’s current RHNA Progress Report. 

As of March 11, 2024, Gilroy has a Housing and Community Services Manager within our Community Development Department. This newly added position will enable the City to make more concentrated efforts on affordable housing production, preservation, and protection for our residents.


The City and County continue towards the development of affordable housing at 8th and Alexander. This housing development will consist of 50% low-income housing, 25% very low-income housing, and 25% extremely low-income housing. Keep in mind that these income thresholds are based on the area median income countywide and are much higher than you might think for Gilroy. The County is currently developing a Request for Offers (RFO) which solicits offers from potential construction contractors. Once received, the County will determine a project contractor. Project specifics including number of units and when this project will commence will be announced later. 

As a means of direct outreach to each individual in our unhoused population, the City Council approved in November 2021 a Quality-of-Life Police Officer pilot program in which two police officers selected and trained specifically for this purpose would be dedicated to connecting the individual to support options and to addressing homelessness-related issues that affect our community. Two officers were selected in March 2022 for this full-time assignment. This two-year pilot program was set to conclude in March 2024, but after a favorable progress report received by the City Council on January 22, 2024, https://gilroy.primegov.com/portal/item/14496 the Council voted to make the program permanent. Understanding the many homelessness-related issues and the necessary collaborations with community, faith-based organizations, government partners and existing non-profits who receive their own public grants and private donations is a strategy implemented by our QOL police officer program that provides the unhoused individual with contact information on resources tailored to their specific needs. In addition, this direct contact outreach program puts our unhoused population on a first-name basis with our QOL team, and vice versa, and helps to alleviate fear, discomfort and confusion. If an unhoused individual to whom resources were referred has not made contact with the resource provider, the QOL team coordinates a site visit with the service provider at the individual’s encampment. The QOL program brings significant insight into the vast nature of existing issues within our unhoused community and addresses the multifaceted challenges with respect and compassion.

To address the ongoing issues throughout the City of trash buildup and the accumulation of personal property placed or stored (included vehicles) on public spaces, the City has implemented five measures that address our response to but cannot prevent the ongoing nature of the problem.

  1. Cleaning up and removing encampments in prohibited areas within the city limits (where health and safety of the general population is at risk) https://gilroy.primegov.com/portal/item/13365.
  2. Through our QOL team, identifying and coordinating clean-up efforts with Valley Water, Union Pacific, CalTrans, and private property owners for property outside of the jurisdiction of the City of Gilroy
  3. Enforcing parking restrictions on public streets where RVs and personal property accumulate for lengthy periods of time and affect nearby residents and businesses
  4. A twice per week trash pick-up schedule at certain locations throughout the city authorized by the City Council with the purchase of a compactor dump truck
  5. A “Fight Dirty” campaign that addresses trash in general, with organized efforts through volunteers to canvas different parts of the City for trash every other month. Additionally, a phone call to Recology (408-842-3358) will schedule pick up at your curb of up to two bulky items per year. Mattresses may be brought to and recycled at the City’s annual mattress recycling event. To help keep Gilroy beautiful and for more information on Fight Dirty, please look for more information in the City’s weekly e-newsletter.  

Potential Public Safety Tax Measure

With a growing population and increased demand for public safety services, be it police, fire or emergency medical response, the City Council is considering a ballot measure this November that would ask the voters if they would support a ¼ percent sales tax increase to be dedicated solely to public safety. Many more details will be forthcoming as we determine and specify how the additional revenue would be used for staffing, equipment and infrastructure within our Police and Fire Departments.

California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)

As a CPA and your mayor, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the impacts of CalPERS on our financial stability. This financial burden only worsens. The CalPERS system promises retirement packages to public employees at a fixed dollar amount regardless of how investments are actually performing. As a consequence, when the investment market loses money or doesn’t meet the necessary earnings mark, retirement benefit obligations can’t be met in full. Note also that incoming CalPERS contributions from employees do little to offset outgoing benefits paid to retirees. The City pays the minimum required annual payment on our retirement obligations and accrues a growing “unfunded liability” that gets larger and larger (and accrues interest!) depending upon the magnitude of the shortfall of the investment market performance from the interest rate assumed by CalPERS. Gilroy’s unfunded CalPERS liability is over $100 million, the amount required to meet our current and future pension obligations as they exist today. We have additional unfunded liabilities of nearly $20 million for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). OPEB refers to retirement benefits other than pensions that public employees receive, such as medical, dental, vision or life insurance.

In 2019, the then City Council, including myself, voted to establish and fund a Section 115 Trust, a mechanism for setting aside and investing current funds to offset future pension liability payments. At the time, the Council voted to initially fund the Trust with $2 million in fiscal year 2020. To date, a total of $3 million has been contributed with another $750,000 for the next fiscal year. A drop in the bucket, true, next to $120 million that continues to grow with interest, but it can buy us time when Gilroy and other cities alike become unable to meet even our minimum annual payment. Gilroy’s required CalPERS annual minimum payments for fiscal years 2024 and 2025 are $13.6 million and $14.7 million, respectively.

Looking Ahead to a Gilroy Community Center and Civic Center Plaza

Gilroy’s Civic Center campus comprises the three blocks between Church Street and Dowdy Street from east to west, and between 6th and 7th Streets from north to south. With the exception of the library and the police station, this campus is largely underutilized with buildings in various degrees of deterioration, including the former police station, the Senior Center, and Wheeler auditorium (not to mention City Hall itself). A vision for this space in the heart of the City includes a redesign and rebuild of all but the library and the new police station, to include an impressive Civic Center campus and all-purpose Community Center. Such an endeavor would spur the addition of community-based and recreation programs and events for all ages. We hope to see this process take shape within the next two years as we identify together what our community wants and would be willing to pay for.

Gavilan College and Gilroy Unified School District

At the helm of Gavilan College and GUSD are President, Dr. Pedro Avila, and Superintendent, Dr. Anish Munshi, respectively. While you, the voters, elect trustees to govern each of these institutions who serve students both inside and outside of the City of Gilroy, as Mayor I can’t help but express my pride and shared relationship with these exceptional contributing partners to Gilroy’s overall excellence. Together we collaborate, share resources, brainstorm, collectively attempt to influence our state and federal representatives for our joint benefit, and promote the importance of education, community, job skills, self-worth and well-being throughout Gilroy. In 2023, a year of what seemed to be sudden turnover of almost every leading position in major organizations in Gilroy, we are so fortunate to have both Dr. Avila and Dr. Munshi to collaborate with our Gilroy City staff.

Saint Louise Regional Hospital and Healing Services

In 2019 Gilroy was at risk of losing our only local hospital when its owners filed bankruptcy proceedings and the hospital was put up for auction. The County of Santa Clara was the only bidder, and thanks to the determination and support driven by then County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, our local hospital remains. Today, services at St. Louise Hospital thrive. Current County Supervisor Sylvia Arenas has continued to champion support for the success and expanded services we are fortunate to have in Gilroy. Last year we celebrated the addition of a program to treat victims of sexual assault and physical abuse so that long distance travel would no longer be necessary during the immediate aftermath of such assault. In addition, the hospital has added a new CT scanner and an electronic health record system. St. Louise Hospital Executive Gloria dela Merced has been instrumental in promoting these services that support the Gilroy community.

Also in Gilroy, thanks to resources provided by Santa Clara County, are services of healing and practical assistance to victims of crime and to those seeking productive paths forward following incarceration. The Mariposas Resiliency Center in downtown Gilroy is provided by the District Attorney’s Office and offers trauma recovery services for victims of violent crime. The South County Re-entry Resource Center off Leavesley Road is operated by the Santa Clara County Office of Diversion and Re-entry Services and aims to build safer communities by bringing resources to those who have been or are at-risk of being incarcerated. Assistance with job readiness, drug treatment, getting a high school diploma, and having a place of emotional support are just a few of reasons to value this resource. From medical treatment at St. Louise Hospital, to recovery services at Mariposas Resiliency Center for emotional trauma, to emotional and practical support found at the South County Re-entry Resource Center, services in Gilroy are on the rise. 

The Gilroy Garlic Festival

Moving forward from the tragedy of 2019, a tragedy that will never be forgotten, is a difficult and emotional process for all of us. In 2023, after four years, the City of Gilroy and the Garlic Festival Association were both released as defendants in the largest of the ongoing lawsuits. As we wait for the Garlic Festival to one day return as we know it, the Garlic Festival Association has a growing number of events that continue their legacy of financial support for our local community. Enjoy their gourmet alley food items at the Day on the Ridge music concert (May 26) and at the Gilroy Rodeo (Aug. 9-11). I’ll be at both!

In 2023 the Gilroy City Council made permanent the memorial garden at Christmas Hill Park by erecting a monument inscribed 

Gilroy Garlic Festival Memorial Garden

July 28, 2019

In memory and honor of those whose lives were forever changed

Local Organizations Making Gilroy Better!

There are too many to name, and this is not an effort to name them all, but as a Gilroy native I am so proud of all the good that’s here in Gilroy. From organizations like the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, the Gilroy Foundation, St. Joseph’s Family Center, the Compassion Center, the Salvation Army, the Latino Family Fund, Nueva Vida, DigitalNEST, the YMCA, Gilroy Rotary Clubs, the Gilroy Exchange Club, Gilroy Veterans Hall, and the Gilroy Assistance League, to organizations like the Poppy Jasper International Film Festival, South Valley Symphony, and SV Creates, to organizations like the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Visit Gilroy, the Gilroy Downtown Business Association and the Gilroy Museum, we are making Gilroy better together.  

We Are Gilroy

Look around you. Gilroy is a city full of life with people who care. Thank you to our city staff who strive each and every day to keep Gilroy safe, vibrant, and moving forward. Feel the warmth of everyone striving to make Gilroy stronger and better, including you! Together, we build and nurture a community of heart, a community that cares, a community for each other.  We. Are. Gilroy.