In his 4 terms on the Riverside City Council Andy has created and developed various projects in Ward 2 that have focused on social service programs, youth services, economic development, and housing.
Johnny Martin Sotelo Youth Opportunity Center
When the county was shutting down the Riverside YOC Andy opened up the Johnny Sotelo Youth Opportunity Center to continue to provide our youth services in their community. He helped fund the Project Bridge Program that takes at risk youth and provides job readiness training, a pathway to education completion for high school and also provides children an opportunity to be exposed to various arts programs. So far our youth have even published four books titled “R Side Of the Story”.
Riverside Arts Academy
In 2007 Andy started the first opera program in Riverside in an under served area of Ward 2 to help expose our community to new arts. That program turned into what we now know as the Riverside Arts Academy (RAA) where over 4,500 youth have access to professional level music and arts instruction. RAA has now expanded to partner with two school districts RUSD (Riverside Unified School District) and AUSD (Alvord Unified School District) to provide arts lessons at school sites because the school districts did not offer it.
Andy has created public and private partnerships to bring in job development training and connect entrepreneurs with funding to make their business dreams a reality.
He brought together the Small Business Administration and the the Inland Empire Small Business Development Center to put together community trainings for people who have a vision for a business. They also connected funds to help get new business owners their business licenses and the program continues with the City of Riverside and the Community Settlement Association. These programs were included in the recent Transformative Climate Communities Grant which will now create a long term sustainable program that will lead to even more small business development.
Housing & Employment
Andy’s vision for housing and employment development is tied to transit oriented projects. He has brought in developers to create affordable housing projects that also include road enhancements and walkway enhancements.
The Wakeland Development Project on 7th Street and Chicago Avenue was first vetted with neighbors. These neighbors even had a hand in developing what it would look like. This affordable housing unit will incorporate office spaces to provide on site behavioral health services to our most vulnerable populations including our senior citizens and people with disabilities.
When development projects are brought to the table Andy’s first question is always “How are the developers incorporating housing with other initiatives such as retail, social service programs and others?”
Local Business Support
To help support local business the councilman created the Shop Local Shop Small Riverside YouTube Channel to help promote local small business and give a spotlight via city channels.
His perspective is to create sustainable programs that will be left to our community partners to run. When our community has a hand in determining what programs they want and need their is a higher success rate and a longer life span. At the core of all projects are residents who guide and help develop these initiatives.
And there’s much more to list…
- Founded the Riverside Arts Academy
- Established the Youth Opportunity Center for at risk youth
- Complete funding for the Centro de Ninos Child Care Center
- Refurbished and updated Cesar Chavez Community Center
- Built the first Park and Rec skateboard Park in Riverside
- Refurbished and upgraded Sippy Woodhead Pool
- Installed the first Synthetic Turf Football/Soccer field in the City
- Expanded and upgraded Bordwell Park Stratton Center
- Installed outdoor exercise equipment at both Lincoln and Bordwell Park
- Upgraded Playground equipment at Lincoln Park
- Enhanced art in our Eastside parks and neighborhood
- Removed Bad Hotels on University Ave to include Roadway Inn, Stardust Hotel, Welcome Inn, Big L Hotel
- Removed 2 bad liquor stores along University Ave.
- Artist in residence housing unit
- Supported the Riverside Renaissance
- Removed 5 bad and nuisance night clubs along University Ave.
- Worked to establish new modern Starbucks on Iowa and University
- Supported the construction of Walgreens on University Ave.
- Installed Signal Light at Ransom Road and Canyon Crest Drive
- Established Strong Relationship with UCR to calm student housing issue
- Established several ordinances to promote quality of life such as noise ordinance, extra ordinary response, etc…
- Established the Ameal Moore Nature Museum Center at Sycamore Canyon
- Supported and encouraged 4 Story Mission Lofts Apartment Complex at Mission Inn Ave and Commerce Ave.
- Supported and encouraged New 5 story Hotel at University Village (currently being built)
- Supported construction of California Air Resources Board on Iowa (UCR property)
- Supported and encouraged UEI Building on University Building
- Established adopt an alley program
- Created an Eastside Artist Alliance
And still to come…
- Rehabilitation and improvements of Park Ave.
- Two additional artistic bike racks on Park Ave.
- Adding two additional bike lanes on Park Ave.
- Additional artist murals on Park Ave.
- Parkletts on Park Ave.
- Development of Transit orient development
- 65 Affordable housing unit complex at 7th street and Chicago Ave. (20 housing first units, 45 affordable family units)
- Additional lighting on Park Ave.
- 100+ apartment complex on corner of Park and University (going through entitlement)
- Steal Craft food complex at Ottawa and University Ave. (in planning process)
- Canyon Crossing Medical Hospital, Medical Clinics and Housing at the 215 Fwy and Eastridge (in planning)
Social Services & Mental Health
Andy knows the City of Riverside doesn’t have the expertise or ability to properly manage all social services and mental health initiatives so he created partnerships with the County of Riverside to help bring the Transitional Aged Youth Center to Ward 2. This is a drop in center where our at risk youth have access to a safe place where they can get treatment services and be referred to follow up treatments with their medical providers.
Under the development component Andy has also brought together partners like the Riverside Community Health Foundation to develop more health facilities that are federally qualified health centers that have programs that can help provide low cost or no cost medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services. The goal is to provide an entire infrastructure of programs within walk-able distance so people can eat, play, and stay healthy.