Downtown district optimistic about opportunities
by Michael Langley
Aug 14, 2014 | 3585 views | 7 7 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District update
Tracy City Center Association president Dino Margaros discusses the attendance for the downtown farmers market during the State of the District 2014 presentation Tuesday night at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The Tracy City Center Association has a message for the community: Not only is there a lot going on downtown, but those activities are creating opportunities for Tracy to get better.

TCCA President Dino Margaros returned to those themes several times during the State of the District event Tuesday at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts.

“We want downtown to be the go-to place for dining and entertainment,” Margaros told the assembled group of about 50 business owners, property owners and city officials. “Our ultimate goal is to stop that leakage out of town, over the hill.”

TCCA was formed in 2010 and gets money for streetscape improvements, events and marketing from grants, money made at events, and assessments on property owners along Central Avenue and West 10th Street.

According to financial statements released by TCCA, the district lost $13,791 supporting events between July 1, 2013, and June 30 but drew upon existing reserves to make up the gap.

Sofia Valenzuela, CEO of the Tracy Chamber of Commerce, said that TCCA’s efforts to make downtown a destination had not gone unnoticed.

“The chamber has seen significant improvement in the downtown area,” Valenzuela said Tuesday, referring to the farmers markets, concerts on the Downtown Plaza, the annual wine stroll and other events. “The downtown is the heart of any community. The activities that are going on create opportunity in the downtown.”

Margaros admitted that not all of TCCA’s efforts had been successful. He announced during the State of the District that the group had canceled the remaining Wednesday farmers markets for this year.

“It just wasn’t working with our expectations,” he said.

Margaros did add that the markets on Saturdays had been more successful than expected, drawing 2,500 to 3,000 people every week.

The TCCA president also said the seven Friday Block Parties at the Downtown Plaza at Central Avenue and Sixth Street drew an estimated 5,350 people, many of whom went into restaurants and shops after the concerts.

“We want it to be the best downtown we can make it, and we want it to be Tracy-based,” Margaros said.

Margaros said that TCCA would face an important decision in 2015. According to the California Property and Business Improvement District Law of 1994, no district can be formed for more than five years without a renewal from property owners.

In 2015, property owners within TCCA will decide whether to continue to charge themselves to pay for TCCA and the events it sponsors. Margaros had a message for the assembled business and property owners.

“Without the district renewal, this stuff goes away,” he said. “This stuff stops.”

People can learn more about TCCA, events downtown and the district’s renewal at the Tracy City Center Association website.

•Contact Michael Ellis Langley at or 830-4231.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
August 17, 2014
The leader ship may have been pointing in the right direction to get walmart and other businesses. Can't really see why u would complain about bringing more business. A little competition never hurt anybody. And you really want us to believe that the MacDonalds in WalMart competes with downtown restaurants? If so it ain't the leader ship. Talk to whatever restaurant it is and help them. When it comes to restaurants, believe it or not - you ARE the leader ship. If you eat there they are successful, if not they go out of business like the hula hut and the microwaved hotdog shop, etc. We don't need a society of people waiting for government bailouts we need more restaurant owners who know how to bring a successful restaurant. Why does everyone want a welfare society where some politician has to lead them by the hand. You want food stamps with obamacare? Be my guest. This is no longer a nation of businessman that could pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It's a welfare mentality out there with the majority expecting handouts from government leaders.
August 17, 2014
One more thing. It makes no sense to have a downtown free of cars. Cars get people downtown. I don't want to walk there. No thank you! You are more than welcome to walk there, but that would be turnoff for the majority of the people (yes moms) who already shop there and want to park as close as possible for safety reasons.
August 16, 2014
I am not surprised at the situation concerning the downtown area. Our short sighted city leaders voted to bring in Wal-Mart and the other big box stores and now our little downtown is trying to compete whith them.

I would like to suggest that Tracy take a look at making their downtown area a shopping center free of cars. Pave Central Avenue with decorative pavers and modern store fronts with great places to eat with outside seating.

All traffic can be diverted around the area so that there area feels like a mall and ample free parking made available. It is hard for me to understand Tracy's marketing approach in the light of 1940's thinking. There must be a strong reason to come to downtown Tracy one that offers open spaces, good restaurants, better looking buildings and better pricing.
August 15, 2014
"We want downtown to be the go-to place."

Really? Why?

Why does the downtown have to be anything other than what it is? I notice people live in the downtown area. I notice the downtown is small. Why impose your vision of high-density amusements on these neighborhoods. I think it time Tracy consider a small fair grounds with the capacity to provide year-round, multi-use. Who says every downtown has to be a hub of bristling sedative activity every night?

Furthermore, I shop in Tracy. There is no "leakage" coming from me.

If you want it to be the "best downtown," make it smoke-free and make it litter-free.

For all those people who want to make the downtown a go-to place, why don't you purchase a house in the downtown area, live in the downtown area, and get rid of the squalor.

I don't think your egos are interested in this idea.
August 14, 2014
I find it hard to believe that anybody would actually drive all the way to Livermore to get anything, at least on a regular basis. Anything I cant find at local stores, which is very little, I usually just pick up on Amazon or ebay. Over the course of the 10 years now that I have lived in Tracy I have traveled to Stockton 3 times to buy things, to Manteca 1 time, to Livermore 1 time, to Santa Clara 1 time and to Fremont twice. Comparing that to the hundreds of visits to local stores makes the over the hill trips seem kind of trivial.

As for downtown not being all that nice, meh, I can take it or leave it. I wouldn't say its horrible but I wouldn't say its great either. It would make more sense to just focus on retail development around the mall. There is actually decent parking there, everything is kind of clustered together and the stores actually have recognizable names. I guess if you are rich enough then the boutique type stores downtown might be attractive but they are not to me.

August 14, 2014
The downtown area of Tracy is pathetic. The city of Tracy continues to hire consultants to evaluate the obvious. The Downtown area is a blight, and no one wants to be there. It has little to offer, yet has so much potential. The emphasis has always relied on the Mall area, to which we they provided a hefty sum in order to attract Macy's to come here, and what benefit have we gained?

How many businesses have opened and closed within the Mall since it was built?

Perhaps it would be a better idea to consult with the city Managers of Livermore and Pleasanton on how they got it right.
August 14, 2014
You are in luck Suri because we just hired the assistant City manager of Livermore to be our City manager. I'm actually very optimistic about the possibilities.

I agree downtown is a blight. We keep trying to put lipstick on the pig instead of just spending the money to get it done.

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