Some blocks lack sidewalks and gutters, and some plots of land are not hooked up to city sewage or water lines.
During the regular meeting of the Tracy City Council on Jan. 21, South C Street resident Lisa DiPasquale, West South Street resident Josie Lopez and others asked council members for changes to their neighborhoods.
“The city has invested so much money into this city, and it’s a beautiful city,” DiPasquale said in an interview June 20. “All of the businesses that are coming and all the wonderful things that are happening — and then there’s this. It’s inexcusable.”
Lopez is frustrated by seeing the neighborhood she has lived in since 1940 get some improvements in bits and pieces.
“It’s in the middle of the whole city and they don’t pay any attention to us,” Lopez said.
Since January, the women have met, along with others, with city employees to see what options existed to provide local children with safe sidewalks to walk to South/West Park Elementary School. Right now, much of Mount Diablo and Mount Oso avenues lacks consistent sidewalks between C Street and Tracy Boulevard.
Councilwoman Nancy Young used to live on the Southside and got involved with residents early on.
“I’m just trying to be that middle ground (between residents and the city staff) to help the residents to see they do have a voice,” Young said. “To live in the middle of the city, only a few blocks from our downtown, I think that’s unreasonable for children to walk down that street to the school.”
Development Services Director Andrew Malik sees a lot of potential in the meetings since January.
“If we’re able to come together and solve this neighborhood issue, the strategy in this particular solution may become a basis — or a pilot, if you will — that can then be the basis for the citywide,” Malik said.
According to an estimate from the city engineering department, the total cost to upgrade the neighborhood in 21 different ways — including asphalt repaving, adding sidewalks and storm drains and installing street lights — would be roughly $3.087 million.
Young, who is a proponent of change, said that now that the cost is known, it’s time for the community to step forward.
“The residents need to have a buy-in, some level of commitments. Even if it’s at a very low end,” Young said.
Lopez said she would be willing to contribute something but added that she and many of her neighbors didn’t have much.
“I don’t mind if we have to pay $5 extra a month, but not any more than that. For those people in that area, that would be too much probably, because they’re all retired and older, like I am,” she said.
So DiPasquale, Lopez and others are going door to door on Saturday and Sunday with a survey to ask residents what they truly want and how much they think they can afford.
The questions include “How happy are you living in this neighborhood in its current condition?” and “How willing are you to contribute to the overall improvement of our neighborhood?”
DiPasquale said she coordinated the questions with the city staff so the neighbors would know what needed to be addressed by the residents.
Young is glad to see the neighbors taking direct action to make change.
“I’ll come out and walk the streets with you. But to sit back and say, ‘Just let the city do it,’ it’s not going to happen and I don’t think it should,” the councilwoman said. “If we’re going to do something, I believe that the residents are going to have to give something.”
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at email@example.com or 830-4231.