In 1954, Modesto first won national recognition as an All-American City. It won again in 1972.
As my wife and I have spent time in our nine Stanislaus County communities, we have noticed some of the qualities that make our communities such great places to live. Whether it’s the quaint downtowns, the abundant trees and greenery, the exceptional farmers markets, the amazing Gallo Center for the Arts, the California Craftsman-style homes, we have plenty to brag about in Stanislaus County.
An area of concern is how our cities “show.”
Recently, two consultants have come to town and both have told me privately that Highway 99 doesn’t “show” well. It leaves visitors with an image of litter, graffiti and weeds. When you consider that more than 100,000 motorists pass through Modesto, Ceres and Turlock each day on 99, you have to think that they are not getting a good image and failing to get a true perspective about all that’s good in our county.
One of the primary rules of selling a house is to make sure it shows well. As I ride my bike home from work, I ride by a home that has been on the market for hundreds of days. It’s in a nice neighborhood. It is priced appropriately for the market. It is on a good street.
So I have asked, “Why doesn’t this house sell?”
When you look at the weed-infested lawn, the overgrown grass, the peeling stucco, the old fence in need of repair, you realize that it just doesn’t have enough curb appeal to attract buyers.
The same can be said of a city.
No matter how many good qualities a city has, if what people see when they drive through is bad, it will create a negative impression.
We have many challenges in our county and its nine cities. Some might think this is a very small issue. But we really need to think about our cities and how best to present them. We need to take pride in how we look.
The government in its limited budget can only do so much. I hope civic groups, garden clubs, service organizations and citizens will rise up and take back our cities.
We can’t necessarily control what some writer says about us in a magazine. But we can control how we look. If we do, it will help us attract jobs, visitors and better vibes from those who pass by on a daily basis.
White is the executive director of the Stanislaus Alliance Worknet.