Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area
In 1988, the business owners located in Ceres downtown business district asked the Ceres City Council to formally establish the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area (CDRA) under the provisions of the California Parking and Business Improvement Area Law of 1979. Upon establishment of this Business Improvement District (BID), the business owners in the CDRA agreed to assess themselves on an annual basis and pay a special assessment fee to the CDRA to fund special activities, improvements, projects, and programs, the purpose of which is to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Ceres. In 1995, the City Council appointed the members of the Ceres Planning Commission to also act as the Board to the CDRA. Annually, prior to the beginning of each new fiscal budget year, the CDRA Board considers a proposed expenditure plan for the upcoming fiscal year and recommends for approval by the Ceres City Council a specific budget for the CDRA. After approving the final budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the City Council holds a public hearing, generally in early August of each year, for the purpose of taking action to formally levy the annual assessment on the businesses within the boundaries of the CDRA. The primary activities funded by the CDRA assessments includes maintenance of the downtown planter bed landscape areas, the installation and scheduled changes to the seasonal promotional banners, and support of the signature community events that take place downtown throughout the year.
Ceres Downtown Facade Improvement Program
The City believes that it is in the public interest to improve the aesthetics and physical quality of downtown Ceres in order to stimulate private reinvestment in the heart of the City. Restoration of the facades of privately owned commercial buildings will eliminate blight and deterioration, thus removing impediments to economic growth.
On June 22, 2015, the Ceres City Council formally adopted the Ceres Downtown Facade Improvement Program and Guidelines, as recommended by the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area Board (CDRAB). The City is proposing this joint public-private investment to offer both financial assistance and technical design assistance to property and business owners undertaking the revitalization and rehabilitation of commercial storefronts and facades within the boundaries of the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area (CDRA) in order to improve the appearance and economic viability of downtown Ceres.
The City of Ceres, in conjunction with funding support from the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area and the former Ceres Redevelopment Agency, has established the Downtown Facade Improvement (DFI) Program to:
- Promote an economically viable and harmonious corridor that attracts and provides for the needs of businesses, residents, visitors, and shoppers;
- Contribute to the elimination of visual and physical blight detrimental to an attractive commercial center by correcting building code violations and eliminating incompatible building materials, colors, signs, and other clutter out of place in a healthy and vibrant downtown;
- Restore blighted storefronts and other building and site elements visible from the public right-of-ways to a level where they are compatible with their surroundings and are aesthetically pleasing;
- Promote economic development in Ceres by providing an incentive for property and business owners to renovate their building for occupancy by new or expanding businesses.
- Implement the community’s vision for downtown Ceres as identified in the 2011 Ceres Downtown Specific Plan.
The Ceres Downtown Facade Improvement Program has two primary program components. The first component is funding support in the form of matching grants for a Design Assistance (DA) program that is intended to assist property owners and business owners in considering an appropriate scale and scope of a desired revitalization project for the exterior of their building. The City has obtained a list of local design professionals and negotiated preferred rates for this consulting service in preparing a specific exterior façade design plan for any eligible building. The second component is funding support in the form of matching grants for a Downtown Facade Improvement (DFI) program to undertake the actual work in the maintenance, rehabilitation, and upgrading of existing commercial properties and buildings within the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area (CRDA).