Mayor Rios

Mayor’s Update

January 2017

Dear Residents,

The City of Watsonville strives to provide excellent customer service. We are committed to providing programs and services that will create a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly community.

Here is a short list of the many exciting things happening in Watsonville:

Mayor’s Welcome

As your new Mayor, I would like to take the time to welcome you to 2017. We started this year with much needed rain. We’ve been going through a drought for a long time and with all this rain we may just come out of it. In the meantime, the City has been working with other agencies to monitor the Pajaro River and creeks. As your Mayor, I want to assure you that our staff is and will be ready to respond should an emergency arise.

2017 is going to be a great year! A lot of economic development and housing projects are in the works. I encourage you to participate and have your voice heard on matters that concern you. Any suggestions or ideas you have to make our city better and prosperous are welcomed. I will have office hours in February and welcome you to come and bring your ideas.

Freedom Boulevard Reconstruction

Significant improvements were made to allow for a smoother drive along one of the busiest roads in Watsonville. Some of the improvements included repaving the road, replacing aged storm drains, and improving safety for pedestrians by renovating medians. Upgrades were also made to allow pedestrians with limited mobility or in wheelchairs improved accessibility by widening sidewalks from Laurel to Sycamore Street, improving accessibility to sidewalk ramps and making cross buttons more accessible.  In addition, an ADA accessible bus pull-out was added in front of the County building, letting passengers off without causing traffic to back up.  Finally, better free flowing traffic will result thanks to the adaptive traffic signals, which adjust to the needs of the traffic resulting in shorter wait times and more green lights! Public Works & Utilities Department thanks you for your patience as we work to improve our town!

 2017 Watsonville Strawberry Festival Poster Contest

The City of Watsonville Parks and Community Services Department is currently accepting entries for the 2017 Watsonville Strawberry Festival Poster Contest. $1,000 Prize for Winning Entry!! Submit your designs with the following guidelines:

  • Entries must be 16” W x 20” H. Please do not include text as part of the design.
  • Entries must reflect the strawberry crop and the Pajaro Valley. Entries must be original art. Entries that use clip art or other copyrighted material will not be accepted.
  • Entries must be submitted in formats for print and web applications.
  • Entries must be received by February 17, 2017.

To enter: Drop off entries at the Customer Service Center at 231 Union St. or email to, provide title, size, date and a brief description of piece. Please include your name, address, phone number and email address. If you have any questions, please call Israel Tirado at (831) 768-3247.

Monterey Bay Green Gardener Certification Program

Students learn from green industry experts and practice skills in an outdoor classroom. Graduates receive discounts from local landscape supply businesses. Bilingual vocational training in resource-efficient landscape maintenance practices. Training cost and certification is only $100 per person! To register, call 786-2160 or visit Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education located at 294 Green Valley Road, Watsonville or register online at: Classes begin January 25, 2017.

Is Your House Earthquake Ready?

Is your house earthquake-ready? How you would you like to receive up to $3,000 toward an earthquake retrofit of your house? The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program provides homeowners up to $3,000 to lessen the potential for earthquake damage.  The primary purpose of earthquake retrofitting is to keep your home from being displaced from its concrete foundation. Homeowner registration will be open January 25th – February 27, 2017 for residents living in Watsonville, CA 95076. Homeowners interested in participating must create an online account, answer a few questions, and review the program guidelines. For more information call 1-877-232-4300 or go to

Red Curb Parking Enforcement Now in Effect

Red curb painting has been installed adjacent to fire hydrants, curb ramps, and crosswalks in congested areas throughout the City to improve public safety. Curbs painted in red indicate no stopping or parking under any circumstances and are enforced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Full parking enforcement has begun, so please be sure to obey parking restrictions indicated by posted signs, curb colors, or meters. Citations for red curb parking violations are $47.

World Wetlands Day – Help us celebrate by joining us in a planting project along Struve Slough on the trail behind the Body Zone – on February 4, 2017 from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. For more info call 768-1622.

Engineer’s Week –Join us and celebrate Engineer’s Week on February 19th- February 25th by participating in the 14th Annual Egg Drop Contest on Thursday, February 23rd! For more information call 768-3117.

I love to hear from our community, so please feel free to email me directly at:


Oscar Rios, Mayor