PALMDALE – The city will see its new leader settling in at the helm in the new year, a push on law enforcement, new retail on the east side, and, perhaps, an airline. Mayor Jim Ledford said one of the major changes for Palmdale in 2007 will be reorganization of City Hall under new City Manager Steve Williams. Williams, the city’s former public works director and assistant city manager, is stepping into the role held by Bob Toone for the past 20 years. “The re-organization gives us a new look at everything,” Ledford said. “The city will get a new stamp or mark from the new leadership.” Ledford said Williams will be deeply involved with trying to find ways to enhance public safety. How exactly that will pan out remains to be seen, but the city will be looking for a strong connection with its residents. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d see“You will see connectivity with residents and neighborhoods,” Ledford said. “There is a role for our residents to play in helping our Sheriff’s Department. The better job we do with that connectivity, the safer our community will be.” The mayor also expects a partnership between the city and Los Angeles County to create two new fire stations in 2007. Station 93 is scheduled to be built at 57th Street East and Avenue R, next to Domenic Massari Park, and Station 136 should be built near Town Center Drive and Bolz Ranch Road in the Rancho Vista area. The stations are expected to cost roughly $4 million each. A public-safety fund set up by the city’s redevelopment agency in 1993 will pay about 24 percent of the cost for Station 93 and 29 percent for Station 136. Palmdale city government has contributed more than $600,000 toward the two stations and will also contribute $130,000 for roadwork and utility lines to support the stations. Scheduled for late 2007 is the completion of the $239 million Palmdale Regional Hospital Medical Center, being developed by Universal Health Services. The hospital will be licensed for 239 beds and will employ about 1,000 workers. That completion date might slip into 2008, Ledford said. Regardless, the project is expected to attract medical offices and those seeking to provide services to the hospital, Ledford said. “You will see significant investment in development in and around the hospital,” Ledford predicted. “It’s a huge economic development in our city. It’ll put more money into the economy, more jobs will be created in the construction of those developments and more jobs created in staffing those developments when they are completed.” The city should also see major retail development in 2007. Among the projects is a 522,760-square-foot shopping center at Avenue R and 47th Street East that will be anchored by a Target store. The Target is expected to be completed in late 2007. Work on that center will carry over into 2008. At 47th Street East and Avenue S, a shopping center is under construction that will add more than 63,000 square feet of retail and office space when complete. That project will include a Chili’s restaurant, Starbucks coffee and a Subway sandwich shop. “You will see those developments start to materialize,” Ledford said. “They will be welcomed additions to the eastside landscape.” A possibility for 2007 is an airline. A coalition led by Los Angeles World Airports is offering $4.6 million in incentives to attract air service for Palmdale. The coalition, called Wheels Up Palmdale, will offer more than $2 million in funding to offset operating costs for an airline serving the community and an additional $2.6 million in the form of terminal rental waivers and nonmonetary services, such as marketing. The money will be given only in the event the airline shows an operating loss in its Palmdale operations. A $900,000 federal grant is a major portion of that incentive package. “Our federal grant will be a huge factor in that,” Ledford said of soliciting an airline. “That’s a major enticement.” Ledford is also hopeful that LAWA will be able to fill Site 9, the former B-1 bomber factory that has been rented out as a movie soundstage, most recently for the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. The facility, at Rancho Vista Boulevard and 30th Street East, has 1 million square feet of industrial floor space. “The movies are fun and exciting, but those buildings are designed for an airport,” Ledford said. “There’s a huge opportunity out there.” [email protected] (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!