The Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association (TDPOA) delivered its annual report to the Turlock City Council at their latest meeting on Sept. 27, highlighting some of their accomplishments from the past year, previewing upcoming events and bringing attention to some recent roadblocks. In addition, a new downtown subcommittee was introduced in hopes of growing downtown.
Danny Mann of the TDPOA began the report by recapping some of the organization’s events from the past year, such as the return of the Fourth of July festival. The organization partnered with the Kiwanis of Greater Turlock, Taqueria La Primera and the Turlock Certified Farmers Market to merge the parade, car show and farmers market. Months earlier during the holiday season, the organization saw a return of the annual Christmas parade but had to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. This year, the group is hoping to have the event back to full scale.
One aspect of the downtown experience that Mann hopes to see grow is the downtown’s banner program. The banner program allows local groups and organizations to promote through streetlight banners. Mann believes that an expansion of the program can bring more color to downtown.
In terms of adding vibrancy and energy to the downtown scene, Mann shared that they have experienced a hurdle in their efforts to have music playing throughout the day.
“We continue to partner with the Chamber and the City for the music downtown, but the equipment was stolen before the Fourth of July event,” Mann shared. “We spent approximately $1,400 to replace all the equipment, and at the last board meeting, all of the speakers and the equipment were stolen again, so that’s why you don’t hear any music downtown.”
With the TDBOA’s backing, a new subcommittee was assembled to help further the efforts of improving the downtown experience, the Turlock Downtown Business Owners Committee (TDBOC).
“This year, the merchants got together and stepped up to form their own association with the downtown association’s backing. We’re covering them as a subcommittee under our insurance and helping them with events,” Mann explained.
According to downtown business owner and TDBOC member Lori Smith, the committee’s mission is to enhance and promote Downtown Turlock businesses while growing downtown into a thriving, historic and cultural heart of our city.
“When we started, one major thing we wanted to do was support each other in any way we could,” Smith said. “We have had several first-time events such as the Pot of Gold Scavenger Hunt, the Mother’s Day event and the upcoming Sip and Stroll, and of course our annual Downtown Trick-or-Treating… We are bringing back Shop the Blocks [and] we do what we can to help with the Festival of Lights.”
Smith added that the group is also currently holding two fundraisers.
“Since the tree lights that add so much charm to downtown keep getting vandalized, we are trying to go up with the trees and our hope is that we can get lights going across the streets and are working with TID on part of that,” Smith said. “The second fundraiser is to partner with Westside Ministries to help keep downtown clean.”
The new committee has also expressed a desire to connect and work with local nonprofits.
“We are currently working with Jessica’s House for November’s Children’s Grief Awareness Month,” Smith said. “We’re now working with the hoteliers as we have created maps listing all downtown businesses that are going into hotels. Maps will be available at all businesses downtown, the university and anywhere else we can put them. The maps will also have a QR code that will take you to our new downtown website (www.shopdowntownturlock.com).”
The TDBOC is meeting monthly on the second Tuesday of each month at the Chamber of Commerce. All meetings are open to the public.
“When we started this, I really just thought that we would work on events and that kind of thing,” Smith said. “I’ve been amazed at how many different and pleasantly unexpected directions this has gone. The staff at City Hall has been more than helpful and have gone above and beyond. I think we all agree that we want our wonderful downtown to be better. It’s great but it can always be better… I think this is just the beginning and I know we’ve got even greater things coming.”