Mayor: City to promote vacant land | Local News | Chowchilla News

Chowchilla is open for business.

That was Mayor John Chavez’s message July 15 as he delivered the annual State of the City Address to city workers, politicians and members of the general public at Farnesi’s Steakhouse. The event was sponsored by the Chowchilla District Chamber of Commerce and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

“We will focus all of our efforts to make things happen in Chowchilla. We are not going to simply going to wait for someone or something to tell us what our future is to be,” Chavez said.

He said the city’s vacant land along highways 99 and 152, combined with Chowchilla’s proximity to various tourist destinations such as national parks and California’s coastline, will be used to persuade businesses to come to town.

Chavez touted the arrival of new City Administrator Brian Haddix. Chavez said Haddix has implemented a program that creates industrial incentives based on local employment and incremental increases in property and sales tax. The program will utilize reduced development impact fees to lower the startup cost of building new businesses and expanding existing ones.

“The expectation is that new jobs would be created that, in turn, would foster a growing economy for all residents,” Chavez said. “That is a win-win for residents and businesses alike.”

Chavez said in the coming weeks the Chowchilla City Council will unveil a plan to entice businesses to the downtown, filling vacant storefronts in the area.

Bobby Kahn, Madera County Economic Development Commission executive director, also spoke at the event. Kahn gave an overview of activity in Madera County that could affect Chowchilla residents.

Kahn said there’s a developer who wants to buy property along Chowchilla Boulevard.

“The developer is very aggressive,” Kahn said. “He wants to start with 450,000 square-feet. He really likes that Chowchilla Boulevard corridor along (Highway) 99, he sees great potential.”

Kahn said he agrees with the mayor that land along highways 99 and 152 has potential. He indicated that the property needs water and sewer lines and said he hopes to discuss the issue with the city in the next few months.

“Bringing infrastructure and dragging infrastructure is very expensive. New development today, when they look at areas, they tend to look at areas that are going to be easy for them to move into,” Kahn said.

Kahn said Lowe’s plans to build a store along Avenue 17 and Highway 99, close to Madera.

“It’s probably going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 or 40 jobs. One thing about Lowe’s is they’re still a family-owned corporation. They take very good care of their employees, pay good wages. I’m sure that (for) people in Chowchilla that are looking for work it will be an easy drive down,” Kahn said.

Chavez praised city staff. He said they are committed to the betterment of Chowchilla.

“The entire city team is committed to meeting and exceeding the needs of our community. That can’t be accomplished overnight, but in can be accomplished with foresight and direction, tools and leadership,” Chavez said.

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