After more than 23 years working for the city, Galt Community Development Director Sandy Kiriu recently announced she will retire at the end of the year.
She says many of the city’s current projects that she has had a hand in have stabilized, so the timing couldn’t be better.
She worked for El Dorado County for three years before coming to Galt, but in that time she wasn’t able to see projects come to fruition. In Galt’s planning department, however, she has seen a grocery store replace a middle school, Old Town gain a sense of renewal, the city library move out of City Hall and new houses go up where only fields once existed.
She recently answered a series of emailed questions from Galt reporter Jennifer Bonnett about her time working for the city.
Tell me why you chose to retire at this time.
I have loved working as a planner for 24 years and (simultaneously) Galt’s community development director for 2 1/2 years, but I now want to spend more time with family and friends, and I have a number of other interests I want to explore.
My husband is also retiring this year, so it seemed like a good time to make that change.
You started with the city in 1990. What has been the biggest change?
It’s hard to pick just one thing!
When I started work here in Galt, the population was less than 9,000, and now Galt is home to about 24,000 residents. We didn’t have a single traffic signal, the Old Town district was in serious decline, and the city’s entire northeast area was virtually undeveloped.
Galt Middle School was located where the current Save-Mart shopping center is ...
As you know, the Old Town district now has a great atmosphere and is thriving with a variety of businesses and new residents in the area.
The northeast side of the city is almost completely built out with residential neighborhoods, shopping centers, parks and schools, and we have a brand new Central Galt Interchange to help connect the two sides of the city across Highway 99.
What will you miss most about working for the city of Galt?
I’m a city planner at heart, so I love being part of a team with other city staff, Planning Commission/Galt City Council and the community to see projects come to fruition. There is nothing like walking through a site after construction and knowing that I played a part in making it a reality.
During your tenure, is there any one co-worker who stands out in your mind?
I can’t say there is just one co-worker who stands out in my mind. Galt has so many talented and hardworking employees that it has truly been a pleasure to work with such dedicated people all these years.
What do you foresee for the city’s economic development in the next five years?
I think the next five years will see tremendous economic growth in Galt. The construction of the Walmart store and the pending Twin Cities roundabout project has already spurred a lot of additional commercial development interest in that immediate vicinity, so I think most of the city’s remaining commercial sites in the northeast area will probably be developed.
Staff is also expecting significant commercial development around the new Central Galt Interchange to occur in the near future — primarily on the east side of Highway 99.
Finally, the Eastview Specific Plan (500 acres east of Marengo Road and south of Twin Cities Road) proponent is hoping to obtain all necessary entitlements and be under construction within 2 to 3 years.
The next 20?
It’s hard to make accurate projections that far out, but I’m hoping Galt will start to attract more job-generating businesses for our Industrial Park and Office districts.
I think the city will likely experience additional commercial development around the Twin Cities Interchange, and the Eastview Specific Plan will probably reach buildout.
The Simmerhorn Commercial Site (near the Central Galt Interchange) should be developed, and hopefully the area further east of the Central Galt Interchange will be annexed and under development.
What is your No. 1 plan for retirement?
To spend more time with friends and family.
If you could give a recent college graduate any words of wisdom about working, what would they be?
Learn and apply the principles of “completed staff work” to set yourself apart from your competition.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.