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Council likes park use on vacant historic land
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The Ceres City Council took another step Monday evening down the path to forming a new park in downtown Ceres with the intent to both help the struggling 1903 Clinton Whitmore Mansion operation as well as forever rid the possibility that apartments could be introduced to the historic parcel.

The council acted on a 5-1 vote of the Ceres Planning Commission to approve an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan to change the land use designation of a vacant portion of the mansion property from Downtown Residential (DR) to Parks (P). They also voted to approve a General Plan Amendment to reflect the same changes in zoning.

Mayor Chris Vierra said he prefers the park designation over any residential possibilities.

The land eyed for a park was once approved for a senior housing project, Victorian Village, which never developed.

The city has formally made a short sale offer of $375,000 to Bank of America to buy the property.

Cary Pope, who owns the mansion with wife Nancy, recently approached the Ceres City Council to ask for city participation to keep the house out of foreclosure. Pope originally asked the city to buy an undeveloped portion of the mansion property for a future park site until he received word about a private investor's interest in the property. The investor did not follow through, thus Pope returned to the council for a May 29 council Study Session.