Two City Council members have a plan to revitalize Turlock’s westside and are seeking the public’s support in making it reality.
City Council member Gil Esquer and Vice Mayor Andrew Nosrati have created a long-term plan to address homelessness in Turlock and beautify parts of the westside. The working document lays out a roadmap for creating a homeless intervention center, a housing plan that starts with a tent city and transitions to a tiny home community and improvements like opening walking paths, more lighting and adding greenspace to the westside.
“We’ve done a pretty good job with downtown…but we need to find a way to expand that a little further. This is a start,” said Esquer, who represents District 2 that includes the westside.
Nosrati said the plan is a continuation of the Council members’ efforts to address homelessness.
“(The document) looks not just at immediate mitigation factors, but a 10-year plan on how to change a part of our community that has been most neglected and most affected by homelessness and the blight from it and crime,” said Nosrati.
The revitalization plan calls for creation of the First Street Homeless Intervention Center that includes a social worker, workforce development, personal finance support and health care provider. Alongside the intervention center would be tent sites in a campground-like setting that would include bathroom and shower facilities and secure storage containers.
Phase Two of the plan has the tent camp transition into a tiny home development.
Along with services for the homeless, the plan includes neighborhood support services like graffiti abatement and trash pickup.
The plan calls for the establishment of a Community Wellness and Public Safety Commission and a dedicated telephone line for access to support services.
The beautification part of the plan sees that realignment of road funding to invest into areas hardest hit by homelessness, realigns park grant funding to a walking/biking path and increases public safety measures like installing cameras, improving lighting and launching neighborhood watch meetings.
Esquer and Nosrati have been meeting with residents of the westside to gain their input on the plan.
“It’s been overwhelmingly positive,” said Nosrati about the response they’ve received so far. “Some people don’t believe it can happen. It is our job to inspire them and make the people realize it is the people’s job to challenge the policy makers.”
Esquer and Nosrati said the funding for this plan will come from multiple sources including redirecting city funds, obtaining county homeless monies, getting state grant funds and working together with local nonprofits.
“This is about being better advocates for our community. Only way to get budgetary support is if you have a detailed plan in place,” said Nosrati.
The plan can be viewed in its entirety at bit.ly/turlockwestside.
The Councilmembers will host a public meeting to discuss the plan at 6 p.m. Thursday on the corner of First and Marshall streets. After taking into account community input, Esquer and Nosrati will present the plan to the Turlock City Council in hopes that they will adopt it as a roadmap for moving forward.
“We need to start something and work towards a goal,” said Esquer.