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Council likes Strategic Plan, only updated
Ceres city seal

The Strategic Plan of the Ceres City Council has been in place since 2007, tweaked in 2008 and 2016 and re-tweaked and approved last week.

The plan has been the guiding document for the council actions for over a decade and during a recent goal setting workshop, the council stuck with the plan with some minor adjustments. The goal is to update it again in 2021.

The plan includes a vision statement that reads: “In collaboration with the community, together we achieve a Ceres that is an attractive, livable, safe community with beautiful neighborhoods, landscaped streets, parks, trails, facilities and vibrant commercial and entertainment amenities.”

The City Council’s guiding principles are:

• Be an approachable Council, with members who are involved in the community;

• Treat people fairly;

• Be proactive, not reactive;

• Make long-lasting decisions;

• Foster strong communications with the community;

• Expect quality development as part of being a quality community;

• Foster openness and public engagement;

• Be friendly in all encounters;

• Be proud of our small town atmosphere;

• Respect the roles of the mayor, council members, city manager and staff.

The council outlined a broad range of goals and projects members wish to accomplish. The goals fall into the following areas:

• Infrastructure: Ensure that the community has adequate, well maintained infrastructure (including water, sewer, streets, traffic signals, parks, sidewalks, facilities) that fosters a quality community and supports a strong economy.

• Livable community: Create a vibrant, safe, attractive and walkable community that maintains a small-town feel, with parks, trails, shopping, entertainment and other desirable amenities.

• Economic development: Proactively recruit and attract businesses to Ceres in order to add to the quality of life and enhance the fiscal base of the community.

• Planning for the Future: Ensure the City has plans and policies in place to attract and create desirable development, maintain and improve neighborhoods and annex land to achieve a livable community and support a strong economy.

• Government operations: Provide quality services to meet community needs, assuring that the City has helpful, well trained, properly equipped and sufficient staff who partners with other public agencies to provide efficient services.

• Community engagement: Establish strong relationships with all sectors of the community, recognizing its cultural diversity and increase their involvement in creating the future of the city.

Infrastructure goals include creating a plan to accommodate all infrastructure needs for the next 50 years, (including sewer, water, parks, streets, traffic signals, storm drains, sidewalks and public facilities). The council also wants to complete the plans and pursue funding for the Service/Mitchell/ SR 99 interchange. Another goal is to complete the design and construction for Eastgate Park, Lions Park, and Lower River Bluff Park and complete construction in Fiscal Year 2020 or earlier. The council also is shooting for an aggressive pursuit of the design, and implementation of the surface water treatment and pipeline with the city of Turlock. Another goal is to leverage Measure L and SB-1 revenues to maintain Ceres streets and roads.

Under the category of “Livable Community” the council set for a desire to establish policies which ensure that impacts of development are paid for by developers and pursue programs that ensure adequate police and fire protection. Another goal is to actively pursue improving the appearance of the community by expanding the Ceres Neighborhood Enhancement Team (CNET) efforts. The council also wants to promote future development to include amenities such as landscaped medians and see development of housing for all economic levels of the community, including affordable, senior and executive housing.

Under Economic Development vision, the council wants to continue proactively attracting new businesses, with a focus on retail enterprises to capture more sales tax and desirable restaurants and proactively implement the Downtown Specific Plan to create a “destination location” downtown. The council wants the city to examine commercial corridors to identify possible locations for new retail and attract entertainment venues for youth and adults.