Local leaders address the community

ATASCADERO — On Friday, Feb. 2, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce presented the community with the State of the City. The sold-out event took place at Colony Cinemas and featured many of Atascadero’s leaders, giving updates to all 110 participants.

“The State of the City is an event that used to be called State of the North County. We used to partner with the Paso Chamber, and we used to talk about issues that would face all of North County. Workforce or tourism and things like that,” stated Atascadero Chamber President and CEO Josh Cross. “In speaking with the city manager this year, we felt that it was the right time to just focus on Atascadero and have Atascadero leaders present on what’s going on in our own community because there’s been so much excitement and opportunity that’s happened recently that we just wanted to get the word out.” 

City Manager Jim Lewis gave updates on the city’s Vision and Placemaking, recent Safety and Infrastructure Improvements, and Staff Culture and Retention. Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore and Deputy Director of Community and Economic Development Loreli Cappel gave updates on Community Development Projects, including a General Plan Update and Business and Economic Development. Director of Community Services and Promotions Terrie Banish gave a presentation on Tourism Goals, Marketing Goals, and Recreation updates. Mayor Heather Moreno gave an update including the city’s Strategic Goals and Priorities, Positive Trends, Working with all levels of Government, F-14 and D-20, and her vision for the Future of Atascadero.


Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) Superintendant Tom Butler was also there to give the community an update on the AUSD, including the district’s goals of Student Success, Staff Collaboration, and Family and Community Partnerships. He also stated that the district currently has 4,345 students enrolled.

The Chamber also gave a presentation and had the audience participate in an interactive exercise by using their cellphones. 

“What we did, is we used software called Poll Everywhere,” Cross said. “So we had a series of questions, and people were able to vote or type a word using their cellphones. It was really fun to see; for example, we asked why they love living or working in Atascadero, and people wrote in words, and as you’ll see in the results, over and over, people wrote in the word community.”

The polls also told the city that its community would love to see a bowling alley come back into the area and that everyone seems to be a big fan of live music. But the feedback didn’t stop with the event.

“The feedback we’ve received from just about everyone, the texts and the emails I got afterward tells me that people are hungry for this kind of information and in this kind of format, and it tells me that this is something that we need to definitely bring back,” Cross said. “We are working with the City leadership to bring a series called Talk on the Block, and this will be something that happens four times a year and will basically take this sort of State of the City presentation around to different parts of town to try and get the word out to as many different people as possible.”

Tentative dates for Talk on the Block will be March 14, May 23, Aug. 22, and Oct. 10. and will be confirmed on the Chamber’s State of the City webpage, which also has all the PowerPoints from the State of the City available to the public. You can find it here: atascaderochamber.org/state-of-the-city.

The Atascadero Chamber would like to thank Colony Cinemas for providing the event space, Huckleberry’s for providing breakfast, and the Human Bean for providing coffee.


Photo 1: One hundred and ten community members came out to hear from local leaders at the Atascadero Chamber’s State of the City. Photo provided by Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.

Photo 2: The Chamber had participants use interactive software to help define what the community thinks the city needs and loves. Photo provided by Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.

Photo 3: Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno addresses the crowd on her vision for Atascadero. Photo provided by Atascadero Chamber of Commerce.