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Improvements slow in making
• Delhart building improvements hit a temporary snag
Delhart renovation.jpg
Construction has hit a temporary snag on Fourth Street where renovations are being made to buildings owned by Jim Delhart. A new facade has been ordered by the former Ceres mayor. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Good things take time. That’s especially true in downtown Ceres which is seeing a slow but steady transformation on Fourth Street.

Long awaited improvements to Fourth Street buildings owned by Ceres businessman and former Ceres mayor Jim Delhart has hit a snag but is expected to resume in the new year. Delhart ordered the improvements to buildings he owns at the southeastern end of the downtown shopping district. The façade improvements come after the city invested millions to give Fourth Street a new look.

Work on Delhart’s buildings started in October but stalled because of a problem found during construction. Tom Westbrook, director of Community Development for the city of Ceres, said workers had to get new plans after it was discovered that a column that was believed to be solid was actually hollow.

“They just had to get it fixed so that they could make sure that when they anchored all of the weight to the side of the building with the new façade that it was actually going to hold,” said Westbrook. “If it was a solid column they’d probably be almost done.”

He commented that the buildings are of old construction but said “it’s going to look pretty awesome once it’s done.”

Three months ago a contractor began ripping off the face of the home of a Hispanic church, Iglesia Santuario De Jesucristo, and a vacant store at the southern end of Fourth Street that is earmarked for a coffee shop. One of the spaces receiving a facelift at 3026 Fourth Street is used by a recovery group named Grupo Liberacion. The work will also include a new face for Selfish Salon, which has been open in a modeled space since December.

An architectural rendering shows that the facades will use a earth-toned surface mixture of stucco, tiles and stone veneer with new columns, foam pop-outs, sun louvers and awnings. 

Delhart is financing the $165,000 remodel project himself. The project was in the works before his wife, JoAnn Delhart, passed away in December 2017. Part of the delay had been due to her passing and because local contractors were too busy with other jobs.

Elsewhere in downtown, work is taking place to renovate the interior of the former DeBoard & Govett chiropractic office at 2943 Fourth Street. The building is owned by Sam Khacho.

In December 2017 the city completed its makeover of Fourth Street. The city completed the $3.1 million project after downtown had been disrupted by construction from May to December 2017. Two blocks of Fourth Street were completely revamped with brick pavers, new asphalt, new landscaping bulbs, architectural pillars and overhead Ceres entry features delineating the downtown shopping district. Improvements also included a new storm drainage and water system. The facelift project is intended to be a catalyst for downtown building owners to improve facades and to encourage new investments for new buildings.

The ACE station will be constructed west of Highway 99 near the southbound onramp in downtown Ceres. Parking for 600 vehicles would be offered both west and east of the raised freeway. Negotiations are in the works to create a large parking lot west of 99 while diagonal parking will be offered along El Camino Avenue, from Central Avenue to the southern point of Whitmore Park. To create room for the parking stalls just west of Whitmore Park, a new concrete retaining wall needs to be constructed next to the freeway. 

Both walls would be painted as part of the station design. Pedestrians coming from east of the freeway will be able to access the train platform via the existing overpass structure.