Gilroy is centrally located within a short driving distance of Monterey Bay,
Santa Cruz, the San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Industry and Economy,
Santa Clara County
Gilroy is best known as the "Garlic Capital of the World," and home of the
annual Garlic Festival in July. But the City is also known for its peaceful
residential environment, its award-winning parks, golf course and recreation
programs, and for its "urban forest," for which the City has won Tree City
USA awards annually since 1979.
A variety of superior community facilities and resources have placed Gilroy high
in recent surveys which have attempted to measure the "quality of life" in Bay Area
Major community facilities unveiled in the last decade include St. Louise Regional
Hospital along U.S. 101, Wheeler Manor (senior residence) and an expanded Senior
Center complex at Sixth and Hanna streets. The Gilroy library is also newly
refurbished and computerized. Gavilan Community College in Gilroy is known for
the beauty of its campus, set in the foothills which surround the City. Downtown,
new vitality and a healthy respect for history make for a lively and interesting
town center. Mature neighborhoods blend with newer homes to create an ambient
atmosphere for residential areas, served by nearby schools, parks and churches,
and just the right combination of rural and suburban amenities.
Average home costs in the area are in the $410,000 range.
Gilroy is situated in South Santa Clara County at the crossing of U.S. Highway 101
and State Highway 152.
The 1.5 square mile rectangle known as "The Old Quad, " was laid out in the
mid-1800's, and served as the City's original city limits from its incorporation
in 1870 until the first annexation in 1948. The system of numbered streets was
used for east-west streets, with First Street/Hecker Pass Highway at the north,
and Eleventh Street at the South. East-West streets added in modern times have
not been numbered, but have been named after trees, birds, presidents, historic
Gilroy names, and old spanish or early American names.
Sixth Street was once the central road, with perpendicular streets being
labeled, for example, "North Hanna" to the north of Sixth, and "South Hanna" to
the south. The addressing scheme changed in 1969. Now Gilroy and Morgan Hill
share a common numbering pattern for Monterey Road. East-West streets are
labeled "East" and "West" as they cross Monterey.
Gilroy is a growing community with a population of about 48,821 (2010 U.S. Census), representing over 2.7 percent of Santa Clara County. Gilroy
serves as the center of a rural area of about 50,000. Projections have shown a
potential population growth of over 10% in the next five years.
The 2010 ethnic breakdown of the City's population is 31.4% Caucasion, 57.8%
Hispanic, 6.7% Asian, 1.5% Black, .4% American Indian, and .2% other.
Gilroy, a charter city, is a center of government activity for the region. The
Gilroy City Council is made up of seven members with four-year terms, including
a separately elected mayor, who can serve any number of terms.
Gilroy's climate strikes a pleasant balance between hot and cold, wet and dry,
making it perfect for agriculture and recreation. Nestled between the Diablo and
Santa Cruz mountains in the Santa Clara Valley, Gilroy residents enjoy mild
temperatures, while missing most of the coastal fog. A state climatology report
says up to 70 percent of Gilroy's days are sunny, with average rainfall of
about 19.11 inches. The proximity of the Pacific Ocean keeps temperatures
uniform. The average annual temperature is 62.8 degrees, although it is not
unusual for summer readings to top 100. The average July high temperature is
near 90. Winter temperatures drop to an average of 57 degrees in January. All-time
winter lows have plunged into the 20s, with the first freeze usually coming in
November. The average date of the last freeze is around March 1.
The agricultural growing season ranges from 300 to 350 days a year. The average
relative humidity readings reach 90 percent or more at night during the winter,
but drop to around 60 percent during the day. In the summer and fall, humidity
reaches 70 percent at night and 40 percent during the day. Winds out of the
northwest are usually light to moderate, up to 20 miles an hour.
Earthquake activity is not uncommon, as Gilroy sits between two active faults. The
Calaveras Fault runs through the eastern foothills, and the Sargent Fault runs
along the western edge of the valley. The Loma Prieta quake in October 1989 was
centered 15 miles northwest of Gilroy, registering 7 on the Richter Scale. A 6.2
quake hit Morgan Hill in April 1984.
Industry and Economy
Historically, Gilroy's economy has been based in agricultural products and
processing. Over the years, prunes, tomatoes, flowers, onions and, of course,
garlic, have contributed to the economic health of the agricultural industries. Food
processing centers have also established themselves in Gilroy, and government
centers also employ many local residents. The Outlets at Gilroy, a five-phase
retail complex, draws shoppers from all over the Bay Area and Central Coast regions.
The modem era has also seen an increase in interest in Gilroy as a site for
expansion of "Silicon Valley." About a thousand acres remain available for
There are 13 public schools in the Gilroy Unified School District. Enrollment in
the district is about 8,900 students. The School Board, which sets policy, adopts
the budget and hires personnel, is made up of seven members elected to four-year
terms. The district has about 800 employees.
Five private schools serve an additional 400 students, and approximately 4,500
students attend Gavilan College.
Gilroy has 12 parks, from 1/8 to 125 acres in size. Gilroy has won more park design
awards from the California Park and Recreation Society than any other city in
California, including awards for Christmas Hill Park (home of the Garlic
Festival), Las Animas Park, San Ysidro Park, and El Roble Park. New facilities
include two neighborhood parks adjacent to Luigi Aprea School and Rod Kelley School.
A recent addition to the City's park system is the Uvas Creek Park Preserve. When
complete, this 125-acre creek restoration project will enhance the City's quality
of life with a beautiful natural riparian corridor, nature trails, and an
interpretive center. Planning for this project began in the 1970s, and
restoration of the Uvas Creek, formerly the site of a sand and gravel mining
operation, began in 1995. The project was given a boost in the 1980s with a $1
million bequest to the city by former councilman and developer Dennis DeBell.
In the same way that the Tigris and Euphrates Valley is heralded as the cradle of
civilization, Santa Clara County will be heralded as the birthplace of a new age:
the age of computers and microchips. But along with its booming space-age economy,
Santa Clara County also hosts a variety of other resources.
The county is home to Stanford University in Palo Alto, which, in the 1930s and
1940s nurtured the entrepreneurial visions of students like William Hewlett and
David Packard, who later founded "Silicon Valley."
A generation ago, the area stood in the economic and cultural shadows of its
northern neighbor, San Francisco. Then a surge of growth brought a half million
new residents, along with their semiconductors and their cultural diversities,
into the metropolitan mainstream. Today, with a population about 1.5 million, Santa
Clara County holds its own.
San Jose, at almost 850,000 in population, is the state's third largest city,
behind Los Angeles and San Diego. With a skyline of top-of-the line hotels and
modern office complexes, along with the $116-million convention center and new
sports/concert arena, San Jose is ready for the next century as an energetic
Fourteen other cities complete the County's personality. Palo Alto marks the
northern terminus of the urban/industrial chain known as Silicon Valley. In
between are the urban and suburban communities of Mountain View, Sunnyvale,
Santa Clara, Cupertino and Campbell. To the northeast is Milpitas, and to the
southwest are the charming hillside villages of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills,
Saratoga, Los Gatos, and Monte Sereno. Crowning the agricultural South County
are Morgan Hill, unincorporated San Martin, and, of course, Gilroy.
At the confluence of four major freeways (101, 280, 680 and 880), San Jose has
long been the fortress of mighty freeway interchanges. But along with its new
status as a truly metropolitan center, San Jose also now boasts a light rails
system. Other modes of transportation in Santa Clara County include County Transit
busses, vanpooling and bicycling and the CalTrain Peninsula Commuter train line,
which moves thousands of workers each day up and down the peninsula, from Gilroy
to San Francisco. San Jose International Airport completes the transportation picture.
Regional and State Parks in the Gilroy vicinity include Mt. Madonna
Park (3,039 acres) to the west, Uvas Canyon Park (1,049 acres) to the
north, and Coe State Park (32,000 acres) to the east. In addition, Anderson,
Calero, Chesbro, Uvas and Coyote reservoirs are all nearby, offering a full
complement of water-related sports and recreational activities.