NOVEMBER 20, 2013 -- The Ceres Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ceres is hosting a meeting with downtown business owners, property owners and residents to discuss revitalization efforts for downtown. The meeting is scheduled for 6 pm at the Ceres Community Center. Seating is limited so you are asked to contact the Ceres Chamber of Commerce at (209) 537-2601 to reserve your seat.
OCTOBER 21, 2013 -- The Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area Board (CDRAB), or more commonly known as the Downtown Business Improvement District, met Monday night with downtown business owners, the Chamber of Commerce and other interested citizens to discuss revitalization efforts for the downtown area.
The Chamber presented an informal poll from a handful of businesses that participated in discussions earlier this week, sharing responses from business owners ranging from a lack of parking to signage and beautification to needing more businesses downtown that will generate foot traffic.
The information is a good start to bringing stakeholders together to identify and implement short- and long-term projects that will help the economic prosperity of Ceres' downtown area. City staff has already identified, based on previous discussions with business owners, 10 programs, projects or events to implement as part of its revitalization efforts. These 10 items include:
1. Make improvements to the facades of the downtown area buildings
2. Create and hold "Signature Events" downtown
3. Planting a Community Garden
4. With the Chamber, recognizing a "Downtown Business of the Year"
5. Develop and implement a Micro-Enterprise Program
6. Offer a Business Assistance Program
7. Partner with the Stanislaus County Alliance to implement a Business Incubator Program
8. Help downtown businesses with Place and Brand Marketing
9. Develop a Public Arts Program
10. Have a Public Amenity Improvement Program (ie. Trees, flowers, lighting, etc.)
According to city staff, currently, the Downtown BID fund holds approximately a $70,000 balance, with annual expenditures of approximately $21,000 for water, electricity, labor for city staff to install and remove holiday banners, and paper and postage for notices to BID members, just to name a few. With a total of 121 properties identified in the business improvement district, only 37% are commercial businesses paying into the BID fund. Approximately 21%, or 26 properties, are either government, non-profit or churches. The remaining properties in the BID are identified as residential.
Funds within the BID may be used for specific items like landscaping, facade improvement and crosswalks, but generalizes to state that funds can be used for anything that benefits the downtown, according to city staff.
At the request of the BID board, the Chamber and City staff, with assistance from the Alliance, will meet with downtown business owners to prioritize proposed programs and projects.
For more information about this meeting, please call the Chamber office at (209) 537-2601.