Tracy Talks: Shelter underway, city’s other priorities come to fore
by Anne Marie Fuller
Apr 25, 2014 | 3668 views | 3 3 comments | 119 119 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, the City Council allocated additional funds to the new animal shelter project, allowing the bid contract process to move forward. As word of this has spread, community members have voiced their input on what the city should focus on next.

Completion for the new animal shelter project is scheduled for November, with a ribbon cutting and official opening in December.

Many were skeptical about whether the animal shelter project would really come to fruition. Now that the final hurdle seems to be behind us, people are hopeful about incorporating other needed services and programs into the fabric of our community.

Around town, people have been saying that more attention needs to be focused on revitalizing downtown, citing nearby Livermore and Pleasanton as examples of what to do. Others are talking about incorporating more youth- and art-focused programs, and some would like to see more attention given to the local homeless:

“When my daughter was around 13 years old (she is now 23), we used to have a facility in town where local teens could go to dances and hang out safely,” said Jenese Borges-Soto, a second-generation Tracy resident. “I think the city should have a place where teens can go to, especially during the summer months. After-school programs could also be provided there. Basically a place where older kids can be dropped off, spend time and stay out of trouble.”

“There is really nothing for kids to do around town since they closed down The Plunge,” said Tracy resident Kristal Ponce. “We need places for local teens to go so they can have fun and to help keep them out of trouble. Something that is open after school hours and on the weekends.”

“I would like to see more services for the homeless,” said resident Helen Jensma. “More places to get food, showers or other needs. There isn’t a lot of places to get personal things that are needed.”

As I’ve received feedback from the community this week, I have also thought about what could possibly make a good family destination spot in town. I would have to pull a page from my teen years and go with an old-fashioned skating rink.

I remember spending all my extra time roller skating and even have my old white lace-up skates with purple pompoms on them, which are still pulled out from time to time. I recall skating until dawn during overnight skating events at the rink and being served pancakes in the morning. Skating was not just a teen scene — entire families would spend hours upon hours together at the rink.

Skating rinks are quite nostalgic and were a popular destination spot long before I was born. In fact, my grandparents first met at a skating rink in 1940. Silver-screen legends such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers helped popularize roller skating by wearing skates during a dance routine in the 1937 classic film “Shall We Dance.”

Although many new businesses have opened in Tracy, people tend to want more of a destination spot rather than a quick pop-in spot to shop. A place more geared to hanging out with other families or groups that could also accommodate people on hot summer days or in the cold, breezy rain on the flip side.

I’d like to hear your thoughts. What does our town need to focus on next?

• Anne Marie Fuller, National Mrs. Beauties of the Nation and Mrs. California BOTN, is the host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie” on Channel 26. Contact her at

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May 02, 2014
I am thrilled that the new shelter will finally come to fruition. I know that the mall is not under the city's control but it really needs to be revitalized. There just isn't much there to attract people. There are still to many empty slots and now there are even fewer dining options with Sbarros' and Burger King gone. The few times I have been there, even on weekends over the past year, there is hardly anyone there. It doesn't appear that tne new owners care much about our mall.
April 27, 2014
I would like to know what the city is planning to do when Measure E expires. Tracy has spent a lot of money on exterior lighting downtown. I think the focus needs to shift to building up the mall and other areas that bring in tax dollars.
April 25, 2014
There isn't much to keep my interest in spending time in town. We need more recreation areas and places to go that hold our interest. It is good to focus on children's programming but we also need to think about the seniors. I think we have enough new restaurants, it's now time to focus elsewhere. I think investing in downtown is good but I want to see more places to be and programs to become involved with.

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