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Older house razed for intersection improvements
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Demolition and clean up occurred last week of an old house and garage that was razed at the southwest corner of Mitchell and Service roads. The site was purchased by the city of Ceres in order for work to commence this year on widening the intersection to accommodate future commercial development. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The home and garage that served as an upholstery shop at a prominent intersection of Service and Mitchell roads is but a memory.

A crew from demolition firm W.C. Maloney, Inc. took down the house last week as the city of Ceres prepares to make improvements to the intersection.

On June 9, 2014 the council authorized the purchase of the 0.97-acre site at the southwest corner for $720,000. City Manager Toby Wells said the home needed to go so the city can widen Service Road and Mitchell Road for future commercial development.

The city used unspent redevelopment agency funds to acquire the property.

"In order to complete the intersection improvements, additional right-of-way is necessary to put the traffic signal and traffic lands in the ultimate location," said Wells. He said the right-of-way encroached into the single-family home and that the home had to be removed in order to move forward with the construction of the improvements.

Having the site shovel ready will make it more appealing to a developer, said Wells. The site is located directly south of the proposed Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center. Development of the center, which will be anchored by a Walmart Supercenter, has been delayed by a lawsuit filed by a group calling themselves Citizens for Ceres.
"This infrastructure would provide a significant incentive to potential economic development activity in the area," said Wells.

The city is planning to use $2 million in unspent bond funds issued by the Ceres Redevelopment Agency which was exterminated by the state for actual roadway improvements to make the Service/Mitchell intersection more shovel-ready for commercial development. The project will widen Mitchell Road to six lanes (including dual turn lane) and undergrounding some utilities.

Also last year the City Council approved spending $3.84 million to finish environmental work and start design work on the Service/Mitchell/Highway 99 interchange. The project will identify what properties are needed for right of way.

The city is expecting the Service/Mitchell/Highway 99 interchange project to cost an estimated $125 million and may be designed with California's first-ever "diverging diamond" road design. Construction is not anticipated until 2020.