By Per Peterson
With a tumultuous year in the rearview mirror, Tracy Mayor Anthony Dimmers shared his thoughts on 2019, as well as his view for 2020 — his second year in office.
The following is a question-and-answer with Mayor Dimmers:
Before we look ahead, sum up 2019 and all the controversy that came with it. What kind of challenges did personnel issues present to you and the council?
“We had our share of controversy in 2019. I think it best not to dwell on the negative but rather choose to seek out the positive in each situation. I think most everyone was able to glean some knowledge or wisdom from the process (however imperfect it may be) and hopefully we will use that to improve how we conduct ourselves and do business in the future. We are in a great position with some very exciting possibilities. Tracy has a tremendous amount to offer. Excellent schools, medical care, aquatic center, country club, airport, library, Fine Arts Council of Tracy, several parks, the best fire, police, and emergency services in the area as well as the only bowling alley in the area and all in a great location. We stand poised on the edge of great things and I see no reason we cannot achieve them in the next few years.”
Summarize your first year in office:
“The biggest thing: learning. As the saying goes “like drinking from a firehose.” I expected a sharp learning curve and was not disappointed. I like to think of challenges as opportunities to excel, and we had several opportunities. We are moving forward with upgrades to infrastructure, downtown, and the airport. The municipal liquor store has become profitable and is relocating to Highway 14, and there were upgrades to the HVAC system in the library. We have seen new business and are making progress on combating blight. We have been able to replace old or damaged equipment for public works, police, and fire. The hard work and collaboration of city employees and department heads, combined with the various boards and city council, with the support of the residents of Tracy, is what made it possible. We did it together as a community.”
In 2010, Tracy citizens voted to decrease the size of the city council by two members. In 2018, residents overwhelmingly voted to add two members with this year’s election. How do you see this change affecting how business is done in Tracy?
“I think this is a great opportunity to add a little more diversity to the council and to make sure everyone is represented. We always need folks to come out and vote, but this year we need folks to step up and run more than ever.”
What is your vision for downtown — what used to be the heart and soul of the community? There has been a lot of movement in buildings downtown, as well as the potential for some physical changes.
“Yes, we are seeing some business come in and we of course want to keep that trend going. Jeff Carpenter is doing an awesome job as the EDA director. Jeff and the EDA work hard for the city and their efforts are paying off. I think most folks agree that with the infrastructure improvements tearing up the road now is the time to make physical updates to downtown. Personally, I would like to see 3rd Street open to foot traffic like many European towns or like Nicollet Mall. The space could include greenery and trees, benches, and maybe a fountain. That concept has not garnered a lot of support, however, and one of the big reasons is cost. The current compromise is sidewalk bump-outs and added greenery such as trees. I think it will be a beautiful addition to the look of downtown and well worth the investment.”