Future of Modesto Could Rely on Its Older Buildings

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MODESTO -- Lady Justice may be getting new roommates if the plan to convert the soon-to-close Stanislaus County courthouse is given the thumbs up by the Modesto City Council.

“Really excited about what the future holds for downtown Modesto and the amount of public participation that’s occurred,” said Downtown Modesto Partnership CEO Josh Bridegroom.

Recently, families, organizations and city leaders discussed what they would like to see take shape in downtown Modesto as part of the city’s 20-year master plan.

“The plan is a vision at this point and is meant to indicate where we can, where the downtown can go in the future,” said Modesto Director of Community and Economic Development Jaylen French.

French said so far, residents have dreamed up more residential housing at old sites such as the old jail, which Bridegroom believes is a blueprint for success.

“Either repurpose or potentially demolish then convert it into some residential, which is great because residential provides a built-in market for downtown retail,” he told FOX40.

French also said residents could also be seeing more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

There could also be a new Modesto Nuts ballpark in downtown, which the Modesto Chamber of Commerce is rooting for.

“The ballpark is an example of sort of a transformational project that could really bring the downtown to the next level,” Bridegroom said.

“It will only bring more traffic and more entertainment and because of that, will be more synergy,” said Craig Lewis, the economic development director for the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

French said right now, locations, designs and funding will need to be worked out.

Bridegroom told FOX40 he hopes many will work to turn these ideas into a thriving, bustling and colorful downtown Modesto.

“Really important to us that there’s a strong show of community participation in this because if the community owns the vision, it’s going to happen,” he said.

The new Stanislaus County courthouse is expected to open in 2023.

French added that the city’s consultant is expected to bring back a draft plan by the end of the year and then the city council is expected to take a vote on that plan.

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