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Economic News Mixed For City
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There is bad news and good news for the local economy, Riverbank's Director of Economic Development Tim Ogden told the Rotary Club at a recent breakfast meeting.

Unemployment is estimated at 17 percent in Stanislaus County and a staggering 24 percent in Riverbank.

Some businesses like Mid Valley Foods and Rizo Lopez that city officials hoped would move to the developing industrial park in Riverbank have decided instead to move out of town.

Another longtime Riverbank business, Better Built Trusses, that faced closure by its owners but was resurrected by a former manager now appears to be heading for Ripon where the new owner has a brother who can provide a less expensive site, Ogden said.

The good news is the Crossroads Shopping Center is still prospering and sustaining the city despite the poor overall state of the economy. Sales tax revenues are up.

On the east side of town, new businesses are looking for a site at the former Army ammunition depot turned industrial park. There are now 17 tenants and 100 new jobs promised by the end of the year. The long timers include AM2T, Donaldson's, Dayton Superior and Green Environmental Technology.

The park expects to draw $1 million in grants by the end of the year and begin $20 million worth of capital improvement projects during 2011.

In the downtown, local singer Rachel Renae led an assembly of entertainers on the new Plaza Del Rio stage, the last section of redevelopment on Third Street is almost finished - it was temporarily opened for the weekend's Cheese and Wine Exposition - and new talks on the future of the Del Rio Theater are under way.

Parking, as usual, was the subject of two questions that Ogden faced from Rotary Club members.

One query concerned Jacob Myers Park and the other the Riverbank Sports Complex. Both questioners asked why these parks don't have enough parking slots to serve the summer crowds.

They are both still under development and more parking will be added in later phases, he said.