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Hallam to continue promoting Ceres’ economic growth
Steve Hallam
Steve Hallam was hired in 2014 by the Ceres City Council as the Redevelopment/ Economic Development Director. Here he is a few years ago in downtown Ceres before it was renovated. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Steve L. Hallam will continue promoting Ceres for new businesses for at least another year now that he has been given another one-year contract extension.

Hallam, the former city manager of Oakdale, was hired in 2014 by the Ceres City Council as the Redevelopment/ Economic Development Director, initially for a 15-month basis. The action came about after a consultant suggested that the city hire a permanent full-time director to promote Ceres to outside businesses as well as retain and expand established businesses. 

The city is using leftover redevelopment agency funds to pay for Hallam’s salary. Part of his job responsibilities will be tying up the loose ends of winding down the Ceres Redevelopment Agency. The state of California dismantled all redevelopment agencies in California in order to raid funds for state coffers.

Hallam is also responsible for overseeing activities associated with the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area and its Board (Planning Commission). 

In a staff report to the council, City Manager Toby Wells said “the performance of Mr. Hallam’s firm has been exemplary and the services provided have been critically important to ensure compliance with the complex processes associated with the final dissolution of the RDAs.”

Hallam works an average of 20 hours per week at $85 per hour, not to exceed $85,000 for the year.

A sample of Hallam’s work includes making contacts with new and prospective businesses and responding to requests from business owners seeking information on available commercial sites in Ceres. He is also promoting the next commercial development in Ceres at the Ceres Gateway Center near Service/Mitchell/Highway 99. He also promotes the economic development of Ceres on websites such as OppSites, a property marketing site, and made new contact with 41 developers who indicated an interest in mixed-use retail and/or hotel development opportunities. His outreach focus on promoting the Ceres Gateway Center has reached 222 interested commercial brokers and developers over the last 10 months.

Hallam also participates in monthly meeting between the city, the Chamber of Commerce, and Opportunity Stanislaus. He also meets with any business owners interested in learning about assistance offered for expansions.

The city spent $121,000 to have Urban Futures, Inc., develop an economic development strategic plan that suggested that Ceres can expect to attract 300,000 to 600,000 square feet of the 7.1 million square feet of new industrial buildings projected to be developed in Stanislaus County by 2020. Ceres also stands to snag 14,000 to 16,000 square feet of new office space over the same time frame.

Hallam was fired as city manager in 2011 when Mayor Pat Paul decided to take the city into a different direction. He served as Community Development Director in Oakdale from October 2001 to November 2006 when he was promoted to city manager. In Oakdale, Hallam cited his close involvement and participation in the successful attraction of Sconza Candy Company to fill the former Hershey’s Chocolate facility that was vacated in 2006 when that company closed its operation and relocated their confectionary production to Mexico.