I am often asked my view and opinion on the evolution, growth and repositioning of Downtown Tracy since the inception of our community benefit district, Tracy City Center Association, back in 2010. Without hesitation, I am proud to respond that we are on track and on point with respect to our accomplishments to date, along with our vision for the future.
Year over year (fiscal year 2015-16), our district’s taxable sales were up over $1.5 million (16.7 percent), and we expect that trend to continue for fiscal year 2016-17. New retailers and restaurants are opening and expanding at an unprecedented rate. Event attendance, participation and engagement continue to grow. Taps on Tenth — our third annual craft beer tasting event — saw its highest attendance ever this year, and we expect a similar result for the Downtown Tracy Wine Stroll in September. Social media engagement is at an all-time high, allowing us to attract our community’s attention on a more personal and highly targeted level.
Our longer-term vision includes the consideration of several elements.
- Targeted development options for the “Bowtie area” at Sixth Street and Central Avenue
- Creative, adaptive reuse of existing and historic buildings within our district boundaries
- An emphasis on mixed-use projects that include a higher-density (market rate) housing component
- A continued focus on cultural and art-based activities
- Modification of our outdoor dining ordinance to allow for parklets
- Improving the visual aesthetics and boundary definition of our downtown as a whole
- Matching infill opportunities with potential developers
- The continued activation of public spaces
- Improving the utilization of existing parking (both public and private)
- The utilization and implementation of the City of Tracy Downtown Façade Improvement Program
A question then typically follows along these lines: Why is there such an emphasis on improving and growing Downtown Tracy?
A healthy, vibrant downtown is typically a barometer of success for the entire city. Downtown creates a sense of place and pride for the community as a whole, is looked at as an amenity that enhances property values, and is a catalyst and economic driver for business development. Our downtown in particular retains a feel that people remember from their youth. It is a community space where we celebrate civic events and have parades. We congregate at the Sixth Street plaza for block parties, barbecues and other festivities. Downtown is what gives Tracy its hometown feel. It is authentic, not manufactured. Online sales have changed the way retailers do business. We are adapting and repositioning our downtown for this “new economy” by designing our programs and processes to leverage Downtown Tracy’s social value, which in turn drives its economic value.
Of course, none of these accomplishments or visions for the future would be possible without the continued focus, support, and collaboration of our committed stakeholders (property owners, merchants, the city of Tracy) and staff. We look forward to a prosperous 2017-18!