By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City of Ceres opens new downtown parking lot
City officials gathered Wednesday afternoon to formally open a new parking lot to serve the Ceres Community Center and downtown.

"This project has been in the making for a long time but once construction started, we were able to deliver the project on time and under budget," said Acting City Manager Art de Werk.

Mayor Chris Vierra commented that the Community Center parking lot is a "vital component in the city's efforts to revitalize the downtown."

The $6.84 million Community Center opened June 16, 2009 and has been served by a small parking lot which has been unable to handle vehicles of persons attending large private and public functions. Prior to the center's opening, the city had purchased three lots. The first lot was purchased at the northwest corner of Fourth and North streets from First Baptist Church for $400,000. Later the city purchased the two lots to the north for a collective $866,427; one containing an abandoned home and the second Sunny's Market convenience store. The lots were cleared but the city had to await funding for improvements. Redevelopment funds became available and on Feb. 28 the council approved a $427,996 contract to George Reed Construction.

The parking lot grand total price tag comes to $1.7 million, all paid for by redevelopment funds.

The work included new decorative street lights, repair of broken sidewalk panels and driveway approaches, installation of a new french drain, repaving of 27 existing parking spaces and construction of 53 new parking spaces, and installation of new landscaping and lighting.

Economic Development Manager Bryan Briggs said the lot will provide parking for users of the new Ceres Community Center and downtown shoppers.

It's estimated that the center alone can accommodate 770 persons at any given time.

Briggs said that the success of the city's efforts to revitalize downtown rest on the amenities provided by a healthy retail environment including adequate and convenient parking.

The city's quest to build a community center came when the city purchased the former Ceres Christian Church property for $1 million with expectations to remodel it into a center. When the costs reached $3.8 million, the city scrapped plans to remodel and decided to build new.