Turning the corner downtown

New bump-outs at downtown intersections are being welcomed by businesses downtown, including at the Tracy Public Library, where library employees are already thinking ahead to how they’re going to utilize them next spring. Photo / Per Peterson

With 3rd St. all but completed, business owners say they are pleased with the
progress and are looking forward to better things to come for the downtown area.

By Per Peterson

The halcyon days of rural downtowns might be long gone, but city leaders in Tracy aren’t thinking about what was — they’re focused on what can be.

Compared to 30 or 40 years ago, downtown Tracy is a shell of itself today.

City leaders continue to work to change that, and a vision of a new-look, more robust downtown is developing.

The transformation, indeed, has already begun.

The second layer of asphalt on 3rd St. was put down last week as part of the Phase 3A-2 infrastructure project, which included a completely revamped water and sewer system under that new surface.

Also, sidewalks have been widened considerably to make them more pedestrian-friendly, and intersection bump-outs have added to downtown areas as well, with the hope that they will be utilized by places like Bonnie & Clyde’s on the south end of the 3rd St. block that intersects with South St., and the Tracy Public Library on the north end at the Morgan St. intersection.

The work that was completed last week signals an unmistakable transition in the downtown area, but the work is just beginning.

“There have been some challenges to downtown — that’s not anything new,” Tracy City Administrator Erik Hansen said at last week’s Planning & Zoning meeting. “There are empty lots and deteriorating buildings; we have a lot of vacancies. It’s been hard to keep downtown full.”

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.