COVID-19 · Visalia

Tulare eyeing sizable downtown investment with rescue funds

As the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds start coming in, Tulare is looking to make a sizable investment in downtown. 

Last month, the Tulare City Council got its first look at where the city is targeting to spend the $18 million heading Tulare’s way from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan package. 

On Tuesday, the city looked at its plan for the second time, which closely reflected the initial proposal from last month. 

The city will hold public hearings at future council meetings to receive input on spending the money before finalizing any decisions as Tuesday’s meeting served, once again, as a preliminary look. 

There are 18 projects that the city is eyeballing, more than $9 million of which would impact downtown Tulare. 

“If downtown redevelopment’s going to occur, in my experience it has to be led by the city,” City Manager Marc Mondell told the council. 

“In order for it to be successful it has to put people in the downtown. It has to have people shopping, living, eating, working, recreating, etc. in the downtown. There’s multiple things that have to happen. This is only a starting point for that to happen, but our desire here is to really jumpstart downtown redevelopment, so you see many projects related to that.” 

The largest project for downtown would be a $5 million investment to redevelop Zumwalt Park, adding an amphitheater, dog park and splash pad. 

Next up would be $2.8 million to remodel and repurpose the Tulare Courthouse. 

Other downtown projects would include $1 million for the construction of a homeless shelter, $500,000 for a downtown facade and rehabilitation grant program and $100,000 to update the downtown master plan. 

As was proposed last time, the city is eyeballing $2.6 million to fill the city’s general fund coffers to make up for lost public sector revenues throughout the pandemic. 

Another sizeable project that Tualre is targeting is an Olympic-sized swimming pool at Mission Oak High School, which would run $500,000. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.