ROSEMEAD - Despite the current fiscal crisis that is still gripping the state of California, the city of Rosemead is solvent with at least $14 million in reserves.
Speaking before a group of real estate agents at Century 21 Dynasty on Thursday, Mayor Sandra Armenta also said the city's recent beautification efforts can be credited with businesses now wanting to come to Rosemead, such as several national chain eateries that will be on Rosemead Boulevard near Interstate 10.
"Because of the beautification efforts we've been doing, we have TGIF going in (at the shopping center on the corner of Rosemead Boulevard and Marshall Street)," Armenta said. "We also have four other restaurants going in there, including Chipotle and The Habit Grill."
While TGIF is expected to open in late November, businesses are also being wooed to the city of Rosemead portion of The Shops at Montebello Mall, including the Olive Garden and an unnamed steakhouse, Armenta said.
But she added there are other benefits to the efforts.
"In the past you saw run-down off-ramps," she said. "That's the first thing I wanted to change. I wanted people to say I want to raise children in this city. On every off-ramp we put rocks in the median and planted trees."
Crime is also down in Rosemead, possibly as much as one-half, in the past five years, she said, crediting the fact that the city hired a chief of police from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who reports both to Temple Station in Temple City and to the Rosemead City Council as the chief works out of his office on the corner of Garvey and Charlotte avenues.
In fact, she's heard deputies sometimes line up to try and work in Rosemead, she said.
"I've heard from the chief there is actually a waiting list for deputies who want to work in this area because of the supervision and training they get," Armenta said.
Armenta said Rosemead was not hit as hard as many cities across the country by the housing market's depreciation and that is mainly due to its location in the San Gabriel Valley near several freeways.
"We still are a suburb with a hometown feeling," she said.
In addition, as part of the beautification efforts she said the city offers several services to business owners and residents that are low cost or no cost, such as the removal of chain linked fences, barbed wire or window bars.
Another program still offered by the city is the first-time homebuyer's program, administered as a community development program, Armenta said. She added anyone interested in obtaining more information on this program should call Michelle Ramirez at Rosemead City Hall at (626) 569-2100.
Larry Valencia, a lender from Whittier who does business in the city of Rosemead, said he was very impressed with the mayor's comments.
"I think it was excellent information, especially the first-time homebuyer's program," Valencia said. "I think it's great to have. I think Rosemead's a great little community. I like they'll take down fences, barbed wire, anything blighted."
(Shel Segal can be reached at