Sep 04

Housing on the Horizon

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 12:23 PM by Thomas Reeves

I am excited to share with you that new housing developments will be coming to Modesto! With the housing market on the rise, we are looking to increase the housing inventory in our city. 

We cannot start development on our own, so our goal is to help facilitate the growth of housing and encourage property owners and housing developers to begin building in our city. Our Community and Economic Development staff has already laid out some beautiful establishments that are ready to be presented to developers, and I am looking forward to their role in advancing our city in the future.

The first all-new establishment that is available for developers is called Tivoli [tiv-uh-lee]. Located in northeast Modesto, Tivoli will offer residential living for those with incomes ranging from low to high. The master planned community will consist of over 2,500 homes and apartments, and will be the biggest project we are offering to developers. As you can imagine, the Tivoli development will take time, but if the housing market continues to rise, it will get off the ground and running much sooner. 

Right now, the Vintage, located on Dale Road behind the Vintage Fair Mall and Village 1, located between Oakdale and Clause Road, are under construction; you can even go visit the model homes for the Vintage to get a sense of the style it offers! The Vintage has about 230 lots that can accommodate medium income families, and Village 1 is available for medium- to high-income families. 

As a related side note, the Federal Reserve announced recently it is cutting its interest rates, and this could mean savings for many workers. This cut is the first in over a decade, and could mean more savings for the average working person. So if you or someone you know is looking into new housing options, there are new reasons to consider making that investment.

Although Modesto can boast several new housing developments, your city leadership has not lost sight toward the goal of offering more affordable housing options.  As the housing market continues to rise, the more likely we are to have an interest in developers wanting to partner with the city on increasing its inventory of affordable housing. 

There also has been a growing interest within the community and among developers for housing downtown through Smart Growth principles, including live/work properties, and Transit-Oriented Development.  With the help of planning efforts, like the Downtown Master Plan currently underway, we will have a road-map for providing these and other unique housing options for those who call Modesto home.   

Stay tuned for more!

Aug 07

Update on HUD Audit

Posted on August 7, 2019 at 10:43 AM by Thomas Reeves

An audit performed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) last year found that the city had not been following certain requirements laid out by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. As part of this audit, we have updated our policies, implemented new procedures, made sure we have proper documentation, and have required more training for our staff.  After these immediate changes, the OIG commended the city for its commitment to address the issues identified in the audit and its efforts to continue working with HUD. 

At the city council meeting tonight, the council will decide whether they will authorize the Community and Economic Development department to repay the HUD and CDBG program. This repayment of $154,160 to HUD is based on staff incorrectly charging their timecards to the grant-funded account instead of a non-grant funded account. To ensure this won’t happen again, all staff timecards have been moved to a non-grant funded cost center. 

The repayment would be unique because the money that would be coming from the Community and Economic Development’s general fund would be going right back into the continuing development of our city through the CDBG program. This repayment will restore integrity with the HUD, and we look forward to our continued funding relationship with them. 
Jul 25

Introducing the New and Improved Visitors Bureau

Posted on July 25, 2019 at 1:38 PM by Thomas Reeves

After a four year restoration, the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is back and better than ever! Now under the direction of Todd Aaronson and a new board, the CVB will be taking a more contemporary approach to tourism while staying true to Modesto’s culture and history. At the beginning of July, the CVB officially re-launched – independent of the city – and looks forward to moving into their new Visitors Center. Go check out their new place at 1008 12th Street soon!

The CVB is at the forefront of our efforts to attract visitors to this great city. The CVB is the “one stop shop” for all things Modesto. From attractions, conventions, events, cuisine, to tours; you name it and the CVB will assist with your need. With the CVB creating greater awareness of what Modesto has to offer, our city will be considered when hosting an event or traveling through - one way they help boost Modesto’s economy. 

Where is the CVB getting the funds to do all this, you might ask? When guests pay for a hotel room, there is the room rate plus taxes and other fees. One of those fees in Modesto is called the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) which taxes guests when staying in one of our hotels. 

A new fee that will be employed starting in August is the Modesto Tourism Marketing District Fee.  This is a 1% fee to the guest on the overall room rate, and will go directly back to funding the CVB. 

With a portion of the TOT and the Tourism Fee in place, the CVB will double their budget with no cost to the government, the community or local businesses. Basically, the people who stay in Modesto help fund Modesto’s tourism and get to enjoy what the city has to offer at the same time. It’s a common cycle in the world of tourism: nominal fees help pay for bringing additional tourists to town, which aid in bringing much more revenue for the local economy. More people, businesses and organizations are choosing Modesto to host their events in recent years, so let’s continue showing them what our great city is all about. 

As the CVB gets up and running new employment opportunities will be available. They will soon be looking to hire team members and tourism ambassadors to help with their outreach efforts. Also be on the lookout for their social media! They have some great things coming to showcase the heart and soul of Modesto, especially as we begin to celebrate the 150 year history of our city!

We are very excited to partner with the CVB and help usher in Modesto‘s flourishing tourism.