opinion

OPINION: The Changing Of The Footprint In Tracy


benigno

 

Thomas Benigno

Former elected Republican Central Committee member

I recently went to a planning commission meeting in Tracy.  It was no different than any other planning commission meeting that I have been to in the last 12 years. The only difference was that this time they wanted input from the citizens. You ask why? The reason is the city like others, is in big trouble in the inter cities.

The lack of shoppers in the downtown areas because of the sluggish economy, plus no jobs to bring people to the downtown areas. The meeting was centered around bringing a new look to the downtown, so what they discussed was to cut the core of the downtown, and condense the business area to do some downtown changes. Changes such as office and small shops such as nail salons and hair shops. As one business owner stated, he liked the idea because it would be a temporary fill for the vacant shops until things got better. We all felt a little uneasy when he said that because he was just hoping it would get better.

Somehow, only a few  felt as he did and they were with the City of Tracy.
     One of the big issues that was never brought up was until one of the guests said, “we need shoppers as well as business’s,” and “who was going to go down town at 7 PM after traveling 4 hours to and from work and working for 10 hours.”  Then to come up town and to find out half of the shops are closed. The traditional shops should be open just as they are around Christmas. It seems like when we have the WINE STROLLS, the city is booming downtown.   We hear all about the transient drunks downtown and how unsafe it is. Is that really the true problem? I believe it is that the downtown has nothing to offer the people of Tracy, except a few specialty shops. Even the FARMERS MARKETS, who get major publicity in most downtown cities, seems to be more of a nuisance these days according to Ron Pardini Executive Director of Urban Village Farmers Market Association of Fremont Ca. The reasons are unknown but it might have something to do with the high cost of the growers delivering the produce to markets because of the gas costs going up and charging more for the produce.

     So as we can see, the volatile poor economy is hurting everyone. When street vendors start going out of business we have a great problem. What troubled me was the fact that a local business owner is selling his property to the city and their thoughts are that we need another small independent grocery store. What I see is that we have three major chains that will be closing about three stores in the town, so how does that equate to put a small business at risk to satisfy some special interest property owner? As one of the visiting citizens at the meeting said TAKE THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF THE EQUATION AND LET BUSINESS TAKE CARE OF IT’S SELF. Boy did that get a response from a few people. Now we come to the bottom line of the whole mess. Does the city have the right to cut the size of downtown to accommodate a few city officials or special interest business owners who are looking to get someone elected to a higher office in 2012?

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