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Downtown 'sorta' done by Thanksgiving
Fourth Street pavement and pavers done but not landscaping
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Pallets of brick pavers were still being installed yesterday on Fourth Street with the goal of finishing today. The city expects the street to open up this week. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

City officials have been targeting the completion of the renovation of Fourth Street to coincide with Thanksgiving, which is Thursday. With the paving occurring last week, a crew of pavers was working frantically Tuesday to complete the job by today.

But the landscaping is a different story. There's more work to be done.

The metal arches that will delineate a two-block section of Fourth Street as a made over business district also have not arrived, said City Engineer Daryl Jordan.
Electricians were still wiring the new lights lining Fourth Street yesterday.

Jordan said the street will be open to vehicular traffic before the end of the week but work will continue on the arch, which are being manufactured in Southern California and will be trucked to Ceres.

Ceres city officials decided to invest $3.1 million in bond proceeds issued by the now defunct Ceres Redevelopment Agency to give downtown a new look in an attempt to generate a stronger downtown business core. Steve Hallam, the city's Redevelopment/Economic Development Manager, is hoping the investment spurs private business and building owners to follow suit. He said at least one downtown property owner is looking at architectural renderings to spruce up facades of buildings but wanted to keep the owner's name secret for now.

The city has yet to implement its Downtown Specific Plan, adopted in 2011 at a cost of about $350,000. It calls for development of a "destination downtown" with a movie theater, professional offices and retail spaces on ground floors and residential units on second floors, and eateries to offer nightlife atmosphere, additional parking, an expanded civic center and expanded streetscapes. An ingredient of that plan is to infuse 495 more residential units and 1,678 corresponding downtown dwellers in the downtown area. When the plan was adopted six years ago, Mayor Chris Vierra commented the blueprint would probably take 30 to 50 years to come to fruition.