The San Francisco Chronicle reported in its Sunday edition that construction activity and spending are on the rise in the Bay Area, and that is potentially good for Madera. While growth in the Bay Area doesn’t necessarily translate directly into growth in the Central Valley, there can be a slow domino effect that can lead to economic activity here and elsewhere in the Central Valley.
In the last decade, we saw home-building here increase because of the high costs of housing in the Bay Area, people could sell their homes in San Francisco or San Jose, bring the money to Madera and buy a nice home for cash and bank the rest.
That practice, short-lived as it was, is a good reason why Madera should do more to attract retirees and those who don’t mind long commutes.
Already, Madera is a great place for Bay Area people to retire. Our city is comfortable and has many amenities. Visits back and forth can be fairly easy because the distances aren’t that great. We’re close enough to Fresno to keep the power shoppers happy, and to the Sierra foothills and Yosemite National Park for outdoor recreationalists to stay active. We’re close to two excellent casinos for those who like to gamble, and will be in a critical mass of gambling activity when the North Fork casino is completed. And, we’re a small enough city to give retirees the sense of community they may yearn for in their non-working years.
One doesn’t have to be retired, however, to find opportunity in Madera right now. Construction work on the new courthouse, on the widening of State Route 99, on improvements on the Avenue 12 overpass, have created job opportunities for construction workers and for the businesses that fill construction needs.
If the high-speed rail track construction begins as scheduled this fall, and after the North Fork casino work begins, more jobs will be created.
And in the wings are waiting three projects that have been in the works for awhile: The Sugar Pine Village apartment project at Clinton and Tozer streets; a new 70-room Comfort Inn Suites hotel at Avenue 17 and Airport Drive; and a new gas station and convenience store, also at Avenue 17 and Airport Drive. It has been slow going, but the town is starting to shake itself out of the doldrums of the recession.