East Palo Alto celebrated 25 years since its voter-approved incorporation as a city Tuesday night with Mayor Pat Foster noting the accomplishments that have been made and the work left to be done.
The city has gone through cycles of gang-related violence with more than 230 homicide victims since its incorporation in 1983, now remembered in a touching candlelight ceremony held each of the last three years. Homicides have decreased in the last two years.
But the city has also made enormous progress, marked by the office towers in what used to be Whiskey Gulch, a Four Seasons Hotel and a thriving shopping center anchored by IKEA and Home Depot.
There is also new construction approved for its Bay Road corridor, which will also help transform the city, Foster said.
"East Palo Alto has momentum and we are very busy," Foster said in a state-of-the-city address Tuesday night. "The city is strong and growing, almost on a daily basis."
Foster noted that city voters approved a bond measure to increase funding for police and youth services.
"I am pleased to report that the city is in a better financial situation than ever before in its history," Foster said.
She noted the progress the city has made in building new housing and protecting renters through its rent stabilization and just-cause eviction ordinances.
"The momentum continues, powerfully," Foster said. "We recognize that much is to be done, but today we celebrate where we are."