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City Of Tracy To Spend $2.75 Million Revitalizing West Valley Mall

Calling it a “calculated risk,” the City of Tracy is looking to spend $2.75 million to help bring a Macy’s department store to town in an effort to revitalize the suffering West Valley Mall.

On Thursday June 10th City Manager Leon Churchill said city employees will present the City Council with a plan on how the money will be spent on fixing up the anchor space of Tracy’s West Valley Mall, left empty by Gottschalks last year. The plan is to have Macy’s move in and open its doors sometime in October – in time for the holiday shopping season.

The voting will be held during a special meeting after the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday June 15th.

The Tracy Press Reports:

Churchill said the $2.75 million would come from the residential specific plan fund, money set aside years ago after a settlement with developers. The money — which amounts to developer impact fees and is not tax revenue — can’t be used for things like the fire or police departments, Churchill said. It can only be spent on one-time projects.

“Every so often, the city has to take some calculated risk if it wants to create a better end result. I think this is one of those opportunities,” he said.

…The declining state of the mall is one of the reasons the city manager gave for the city’s courting of Macy’s. He said having a high-end fashion store in the vacant Gottschalks property could have a lasting benefit for the entire mall, in addition to the city and its residents.

…According to city projections that Churchill called “conservative,” the $2.75 million investment should be repaid through sales tax receipts within 10 years of Macy’s opening its doors. He said that timeline could be accelerated, depending the store’s success — Tracy takes in via taxes about 1 percent of all sales, and the future Macy’s is “conservatively” supposed to generate between $15 million and $22 million annually.

That’s compared to Gottschalk’s best sales year of $11 million, Churchill said, adding that Macy’s worst sales years should be far better than Gottschalk’s best.

Churchill said partnering with General Growth and Macy’s is a chance for the city to make a statement and respond to numerous calls for increased economic development.

“I think the community has been asking for some action on the city’s part,” Churchill said, “and I get the impression that this is the sort of thing that’s been asked of the city.”

Off-Leash Dog Parks In Tracy, CA

There is currently only one dog park in Tracy, CA. It’s located near downtown, behind the Fire Station on Grant Line Road.

El Pescadero Park – Tracy Blvd and Kavanaugh Ave

-1 acre of enclosed grass area with benches, doggy bags, lights, water fountain for dogs and humans
-Best time to go 4pm-6pm
-Take the Tracy Blvd exit off Hwy 205, head south; turn left at Kavanaugh Ave; dog park will be one block down on the right

So that all visitors may enjoy the dog park, the City of Tracy asks that all owners abide by a few simple rules:

-Do not use the dog park if your dog is unruly or barks excessively, aggressive, and/or is in heat.
-All dogs must be licensed
-All dogs must be current on vaccinations
-Owners are required to clean up their dog’s droppings
-All dogs must be leashed outside the dog park
-All dogs must be attended by an owner
-Owners use the park at their own risk
-The City of Tracy is not responsible for injury or illness to dogs or owners


Dog Park Etiquette Tips from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers:

-Bring a dog that is under 4 months of age
-Take sensitive dogs to an enclosed dog park where there are more than 2 dogs per every 20 square yards of space
-Bring or use treats and toys when other dogs are nearby
-Allow dogs to form loose packs
-Allow a dog to bully another
-Ever let your dog off-leash in an un-fenced dog park if he/she is not responsive to your verbal commands
-Worry if some dogs don’t play with other dogs in a dog park
-Spend your time talking on a cell phone – you must supervise your dog at all times and be able to give your dog your full attention

-Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s overall health before going to a dog park
-Make sure your dog is up-to-date on his/her vaccinations
-Observe the dogs in the dog park to see if there are any potential health or behavior problems
-Clean up after your dog
-Supervise dogs when they are playing and interrupt any rough play
-Be willing to leave a dog park if you feel that your dog is either being a bully, the play is getting too rough or your dog is just not having fun
-Check to be sure there aren’t a large number of intact (un-neutered) males at the park
-Make sure your young dog is not being bullied or learning bad manners from the other dogs
-Be cautious about taking advice from other park patrons who are not dog professionals

Saving Money by Cutting Home Energy Losses

Prices are going up in many of the areas that affect how you live. Significant changes are found in groceries, the price of energy and almost everything else you can think of. Maybe you can’t cut back on your insurance premiums, but you can do a lot to cut back your household  energy costs. In most cases, you don’t need to spend a penny to start on the savings. Use these simple suggestions and you’ll find you can start saving money right away.

Tighten leaky faucets. A leaky faucet can waste hundreds of gallons of water each year. Worse yet, if the faucet leaks hot water you are sending a lot of money literally down the drain. The cost of heating water typically accounts for about 10-15% of household energy costs. Those little drips can add up to a big cost and they are easy to avoid.

Don’t leave your flue damper open. When you don’t have a fire going in your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. This will keep heated air from getting lost out the chimney.

Install a shower-head with a restricted flow design. It will save water and also the energy to heat that water. You can get one for under $20. Installation is usually very easy.

In the summer, set your temperature to 78 degrees. You can save a lot by increasing the temperature to 78 from 72 degrees. Your AC is probably your home’s most energy intensive system, so even small decreases can offer big paybacks.

Lower your temperature control to 68 during the winter. You can save up to 5% on your heating bill by reducing your temperature setting from 72 to 68 degrees.

Do your laundry in cold water. About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is in heating the water. Eliminate this unnecessary cost by using cold water for the laundry. Restrict your use of warm water to when you’re doing a load of whites. Modern detergents do a pretty good job so it’s not like in the old days.

Use window treatments to regulate your home’s temperature. In the summer, close your south and west facing curtains or blinds. Keeping direct sunlight out of your home will reduce the burden on your air conditioner. It will make your rooms cooler. During the winter, do the opposite. Open your blinds and curtains on sunny days to let the sun’s rays warm your rooms. As the sun goes down, close them again to keep the warmth from escaping.

Only run the dishwasher when it’s full, so you won’t run it so often. The dishwasher accounts for about 2% of your home’s overall energy usage. Don’t ever run partial loads with it. Wait until it is as full as possible before you turn it on.

Run vent fans only when you really have to. Your bathroom’s ventilation fans can replace all the air in your home in as short a time as one hour! Letting the exhaust fans run for extended periods will suck your cool or warm air from your house and replace it with more air from outside. This will boost your cooling and heating costs significantly.

Need To Find Livermore Land For Sale?

Although mainly specializing in residential real estate in and around the Livermore, CA area, Craig Mullins has great knowledge and experience with Livermore land for sale. He has had his real estate license over a decade and since then has seen many deal go thru and many more deals fail form someone who is not experienced.

A true believer in putting the client first, Craig has found that through listing Livermore land for sale, he often comes away with not only a satisfied client, but also a friend.

“You develop great personal relationships with clients even after the transaction has been finished,” she says. “You make new friends.”

If you’re looking for Livermore land for sale, Craig Mullins is just the real estate agent you’re looking for.

Having owned a farm for quite some time, Craig Mullins has personal experience with Livermore land for sale, and what it takes to run a successful a profitable farm & ranch.

Beyond ranching, Craig’s experience with Livermore land for sale includes listing and selling lots, farms, and ranches.

Whether the real estate market is up or down, Craig truly enjoys the business especially working with people and helping them to make their land buying dreams come true.

Homes for sale in Livermore California

Homes for sale in Livermore, California are plentiful and cover a wide range of sizes and listing prices. Now is the perfect time to buy!

Encompassing 22 square miles, the City of Livermore is the easternmost city in the San Francisco Bay Area and the gateway to the Central Valley. It was incorporated in April 1876 and stands as California’s oldest wine region, surrounded by award-winning wineries, farm land and ranches. Protection by the coastal range creates the mild Livermore climate, which in turn makes for a more relaxed, less congested lifestyle.

As with all real estate transactions, it’s best to work with an experienced Realtor when looking for homes for sale in Livermore, California.

Craig Mullins has well over a decade of residential real estate experience in Livermore, CA and its surrounding cities, and knows the awesome responsibility that comes with buying a home. It’s a huge life change that Craig takes great pride in when helping her clients search and purchase homes for sale in Livermore, California.

In addition to all the wonderful homes for sale in Livermore, California, the city is experiencing a reestablishment of the downtown area as the city’s preeminent shopping, dining, entertainment and cultural district.

The summer is coming and soon the kids will be out of school; now truly is the best time to start looking for homes for sale in Livermore, California. And with Craig Mullins’ expert help, it could quite possibly be your best home-buying experience ever!

Call Craig today and get the ball rolling on your search for homes for sale in Livermore, California.

Livermore Foreclosures and Livermore Homes – Home Improvement Rebate Program

So you’ve just bought one of the Livermore Foreclosures or Livermore homes for sale and now you need to fix it up so it truly is your dream home.

Did you know Livermore, CA has a Home Improvement Rebate Program that reimburses low-income Livermore homeowners up to $5,000 to improve the exterior of their home – which are often times Livermore Foreclosures?

Only improvements made to Livermore Foreclosures & Livermore Homes that can be seen from the street, and improve the overall quality of the neighborhood, are eligible for reimbursement.

Homeowners have to submit an application and be approved for the rebate prior to beginning any work on homes in Livermore, after which Livermore City Staff will determine the scope of the improvements and the project specifications.

So what improvements to Livermore Foreclosures & Livermore Homes can be rebated?

• Applications will be ranked competitively based on urgency and need for repair as determined by the City. Other restrictions may apply
• Curbs, gutters, sidewalks, driveways, and drainage improvements.
• Exterior Painting
• General exterior home repairs and cleaning.
• Improvements and repairs to doors and porches.
• Preventative or seasonal landscape maintenance.
• Removal of blighting conditions on property.
• Repairs or replacement of roofing and fencing.
• Repairs to windows and screens.
• Termite damage repair.

And which Livermore Foreclosures & Livermore home improvements cannot be rebated?

• Additions to existing structure (except for handicap modifications).
• Construction/repair of swimming pools, hot tubs or decks.
• Other restrictions may apply, please call for information.
• Purchase or repair of equipment and tools.
• Purchase or repair of furnishings and decorative items.
• Repair work covered by insurance or warranty policies.

To receive an application and additional information on the Home Improvement Rebate Program, please call the Housing and Human Services Division at (925) 960-4590.

Is A New Housing Bubble On Its Way In Livermore, CA?

Is A New Housing Bubble On Its Way?

You may find this hard to believe, but a housing shortage could very well be on its way.

We all know the recession has had a devastating effect on the housing market; people are losing their homes and renting, and others are simply too scared to buy. As a result the home building business has taken a huge hit as there is no need, or money, to build new homes at the moment.

But what will happen when the economy recovers and all those renters and scared buyers want to start buying? Where will people go? Will they purchase homes already built, or will they want new ones?

Some believe they’ll want new homes, and that could pose a problem.

According to reports, the nation’s homebuilders are simply not building enough homes to keep up with the potential demand. In April, only 672,000 new homes were started, an annualized rate and less than half the long-term run rate needed to meet the nation’s natural population growth.

Among other reasons, the new home shortage is due to the countless number of builders and contracting businesses that went belly up; fewer builders means fewer new homes.

But there are some who believe there are plenty of homes, if not a surplus.

Those who doubt a new housing bubble is approaching cite what they consider to be a large “inventory overhang” – which they feel will provide a cushion to offset the increased housing demand. According to the Census Bureau, as many as 7 million homes are sitting vacant, but are not for sale.

From CNN Money: Is a housing shortage coming? By Les Christie, Staff Writer

…So far, the shortfall has been masked by a weak economy that has put a damper on home buying. Once the job market rebounds, however, people will look to have their own homes again. This pent-up demand could get unleashed on unprepared markets, causing shortages and rising local prices.

…“The housing market hasn’t been this way before,” said Nicolas Retsinas, director of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. “The gravity of the problem is deeper and the challenges different. You have to get through that inventory.”

The inventory number, however, can be deceiving for two reasons: People may not want to live in hard-hit areas where the houses are (think: California exurbs and Detroit neighborhoods) or the homes may be beyond repair.

“Many of these vacant homes may not be habitable or are in locations where nobody wants to live,” Gaines said.

…Hard times also persuaded builders to postpone purchases of land they could prep for future development. It will take them that much longer to gear up production once the housing market improves.

Livermore Housing & Homeless Assistance: Grants, Scholarships And Section 8

The City of Livermore knows that even with down-payment assistance programs many families are still unable to purchase a home. That’s why Livermore has come up with a variety of Rental Assistance Programs.

Keep in mind that programs offering direct financial assistance to households for the payment of monthly rental costs are highly competitive in the Bay Area, and that the amount of assistance available is limited.

Per the City of Livermore’s Community Development Department’s => Rental Assistance Program page:

Section 8 Program
In Livermore, the Section 8 program is administered by the Livermore Housing Authority (LHA) located at 3203 Leahy Way, Livermore. The LHA currently receives funding to subsidize rents for approximately 750 households in Livermore. Most of the Section 8 assistance provided by the LHA is in the form of certificates and vouchers. Under the certificate program, the tenant pays 30% of the gross monthly household income for rent, while the balance is subsidized up to a maximum set by the government. Voucher beneficiaries pay a slightly higher rent, but the amount of subsidy can also be increased to cover a higher total rent.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
In the early 1970s the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created the Section 8 Program. The Livermore Housing Authority administers the program within the Livermore City limits by contracting with private landlords to make rental housing available for families with incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income. The Livermore Housing Authority makes rental payment to owners, performing annual inspections, and conducts tenant income re-examinations.

Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
ECHO Housing, a Bay Area nonprofit agency, also provides a limited Rental Assistance Program (RAP). The program provides assistance with move-in costs or helps residents with delinquent rent due to a temporary financial setback. ECHO helps by arranging a guaranteed repayment contract between the tenant and the landlord. Financial assistance is subject to the availability of funds.

Public Housing – Leahy Square
Originally built as military housing, Leahy Square was converted to public housing in 1944. Tenants pay 30% of their income towards rent. The Livermore Housing Authority is responsible for the management and maintenance of the property.

Affordable and Transitional Housing
Transitional housing units are for women with children [who] are homeless or have been in a battered situation. Candidates are selected from shelters, and must complete a training program at the shelter. There is a contract for up to years. A transitional tenant must set goals and work towards finding private housing within two years.

Tri-Valley Housing Scholarship Program
The City of Livermore, in collaboration with the City of Pleasanton and Tri-City Homeless Coalition, provides limited temporary rental assistance through the Tri-Valley Housing Scholarship Program to participants in job training programs. This program, which was begun in 1998, provides monthly rent subsidies to households that are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Subsidies are provided while the head of household is undergoing job training and are gradually phased out after employment is secured.

For complete information visit the Rental Assistance Program page.

Livermore Mortgage Assistance Program

The City of Livermore ’s Mortgage Assistance Program is administered through the Housing and Human Services Division, which works to maintain and expand housing opportunities for low and moderate-income households, by providing a second mortgage loan for first time home buyers who want to live in the City of Livermore .

As with most home buying assistance programs, Livermore ’s Mortgage Assistance Program comes with Income Guidelines:

Household Size – 1 Person
Low-Income Limit: $46,350
Moderate-Income Limit: $75,000

Household Size – 2 People
Low-Income Limit: $53,000
Moderate-Income Limit: $85,700

Household Size – 3 People
Low-Income Limit: $59,600
Moderate-Income Limit: $96,450

Household Size – 4 People
Low-Income Limit: $66,250
Moderate-Income Limit: $107,150

Household Size – 5 People
Low-Income Limit: $71,550
Moderate-Income Limit: $115,700

Down Payment Assistance available for Low-Income families: up to $40,000 in the form of a deferred loan.

Down Payment Assistance available for Moderate-Income families: up to $30,000 in the form of an amortized loan.

For brochures, detailed guidelines and an application, visit the Livermore Mortgage Assistance Program page on the City of Livermore ’s website.

To get the answers to any questions you may have that are not answered on the website, please contact the City’s Housing Division at 925-960-4580 or email them at: