Chowchilla celebrates growth of Camarena

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Camarena Health CEO, board members and Chowchilla and Madera County dignitaries gather for a ground breaking ceremony for the new Camarena Health center being built at 300 Prosperity Avenue in Chowchilla.


A groundbreaking ceremony in Chowchilla has marked the beginning of construction of a new Camarena health clinic on Prosperity Avenue.

Paolo Soares, Camarena CEO, said the new facility, expected to be completed next year, will allow Camarena to expand its services and take care of more patients. He said there is little room for expansion now in its existing site on Trinity Avenue, where it houses some 30 employees who provide medical, dental and behavioral health services.

“Camarena Health has been proudly serving the community of Chowchilla for 13 years,” Soares said. “We are very excited about this expansion project, as it will allow us to grow with the community and to continue meeting the healthcare needs of Chowchilla for many years to come.”

The new location on Prosperity Avenue will allow the clinic to bring in more medical and dental professionals and new services to meet the health care needs of the community, he said.

In the new multi-facility campus, Camarena Health will be providing a full range of health care services which will include medical, dental, behavioral health, optometry and health education services. Camarena Health will also be adding an internal medicine physician and pediatrician to Chowchilla in the coming months to support its expansion of providing quality healthcare services to the residents of Chowchilla.

City of Chowchilla Administrator Brian Haddix said, “Camarena Health’s expansion assures our residents of quality medicine within easy access. The Business Journal’s recent recognition of Chowchilla as the second fastest growing municipality in the central San Joaquin Valley speaks loudly to the need for additional medical services.”

Haddix said last week that Chowchilla has been recognized as the second-fastest-growing city in the Central Valley, at a rate of 8.57 percent, just behind Clovis.

Chowchilla Mayor Dennis Haworth said the population growth, which Camarena will help serve, has been part of a planned outcome.

“We planned for this activity,” he said. “Through the careful use of economic incentive programs designed to bring builders back to Chowchilla, we have been able to attract and guide development in a way that benefits the entire city. This is not growth on one side of Chowchilla only, but rather on all sides — with the downtown remaining in the middle. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

According to a news release issued last week, an expansion in new-home construction can be seen throughout the City. To the east, the neighborhoods of Greenhills and Pheasant Run are anticipated to be completely built-out within the year. To the west, new houses are going up, with more developments nearing complete entitlement. Even the older parts of the city are growing as empty lots see new homes constructed, owing in large part to the city’s infill program. This infill growth has had the collateral effect of existing homes being fixed up or rebuilt as values go up. Niki Upton of London Properties and a board member of the Chowchilla Chamber of Commerce, said, “houses that are appropriately priced are selling within a week of being listed. We haven’t seen this level of excitement in over a decade. In Greenhills, some houses are even selling for above the listing price.”

She attributes this growth to Chowchilla’s safe, neighborly quality of life while being within close proximity to the Bay Area and adjacent cities.

City Administrator Haddix sees multiple benefits of this growth. He noted that, “two new medical facilities are being built near the downtown, with a new restaurant coming in across the street and plans for more. This activity is a result of a growing population, which Chowchilla has.”

Additional growth on the west side of Chowchilla is nearing entitlement with one property planning 200 houses and an adjacent property with 150 houses. On the east side of Chowchilla, the Rancho Calera development, across the street from Greenhills, is approaching entitlement of Phase 1 with 78 new homes., he said.