City To Give Downtown A Face-Lift

Los Banos Talk

According to the Los Banos Downtown Strategic Plan drafted by the City in 2019, the City intends to invest in the infrastructure downtown, increase parking, widen and fix sidewalks, add lighting, and make various improvements to attract new businesses and increase commerce in downtown. You can see the Los Banos Downtown Strategic Plan here.

The plan seems to be really moving forward now with several downtown projects being slated as "high priority" projects for the 2020-21 Fiscal year budget. One of such projects is the construction of a new downtown archway marking the entrence near the intersection of 6th St. and Pacheco Blvd. The cost to design, construct, and install the archway was quoted at about $175,000. Stacy Souza Elms, the Economic Director for the City of Los Banos, gave a presentation of the archway to the Los Banos Downtown Association in March. The archway would be backlit, and one of the pictures below shows what it would look like at night. The other two pictures are screenshots from the presentation as well. This is essentially what the archway is expected to look like.

The archway will probably be one of the first and most notable changes to downtown, but the City also placed the engineering/designing of the under grounding and streetscaping as high priorities as well. Under grounding is opening up a trench and placing utilities underground in order to provide for better infrastructure and create more space above ground, some of the types of utilities to be under grounded are Fiber Optic line (high-speed internet), water, electrical, and phone line. This would allow for more irrigation and bathrooms to be installed in downtown. Streetscaping is the designing and beautification of the downtown area. The streetscaping will be a joint effort between the City and the Downtown Association and will be funded by both the general fund and PBID (Property and Business Improvement District), which is the area depicted below, and essentially allows for an additional property tax on the property owners within the district to raise money for beautification etc. This is a temporary tax and stays in place for 5 years. The tax revenue collected must be managed by a 501c3 Non Profit organization, which in this case is the Los Banos Downtown Association. The City is partnering with the Downtown Association in order to combine resources and coordinate efforts to maximize the effectiveness of the Los Banos Downtown Strategic Plan.

Sharon Silva, the President of the Los Banos Downtown Association, was largely responsible for the revitalization and planning of the downtown area in Turlock, Ca. According to a Los Banos Enterprise article, In 2018 Gene Leib, a friend of hers, reached out to her over the phone and invited her to come back to Los Banos and "work her magic here". Since then the Downtown Association has been working on plans to revitalize the downtown in cooperation and coordination with the City's Economic Development Department. So far many of the ideas and plans seem to be largely similar to things that can be seen in present day downtown Turlock. Below is a gallery slideshow of some screenshots of concept designs that come from the Los Banos Downtown Strategic Plan.

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