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City Pays Up For Partnership
Banking on the idea that it will pay off down the line, Escalon City Council members approved continuing financial support for the San Joaquin Partnership at its Sept. 15 meeting.

Shelley Burcham, who is vice president of client services for the partnership, was on hand at the council session and provided a brief overview of the organization's ongoing activities and objectives, along with answering any questions regarding the Partnership.

As they did for fiscal year 2007-2008, the council approved participating in the Partnership at the $6,000 level for fiscal year 2008-2009.

City Manager Greg Greeson said the Partnership has not brought any big projects to Escalon so far but that is due more to the lack of available land to work with than anything else. He's hopeful that the organization will be helpful later on, specifically in working to secure firms to locate in the city's developing industrial park.

"The specific plan is done, now it's a question of how do we get the infrastructure to it," Greeson said of making progress on the industrial park.

When the industrial site is ready to seek out businesses to move in, that's when the city should get some return on its investment with the Partnership.

"Once that comes along, they'll be a big piece of helping us with that," Greeson said of enticing businesses for the site off Highway 120 and Brennan. "That's something they can sink their teeth in."

Even though the city has contributed regularly, it has been projects in other partnership cities that have indirectly benefited the community.

"If they can bring jobs to the county, that can benefit the citizens here, with jobs closer to home," Greeson said of having the opportunity to stay in San Joaquin County for work rather than having to head over the Altamont or into the Bay Area.

The San Joaquin Partnership includes both public and private supporters and its main objective is to create jobs in San Joaquin County. Funding comes from the cities within the county, the county budget and the private sector.

In other business at the meeting, council members approved a couple of change orders for the Community Center renovation and learned that work is nearing completion on the $2.1 million project.

"They're doing a lot of clean up this week," Greeson said. "We're also waiting for a couple of counters still for the kitchen area."

Also, the council is considering options for shielding the three large air conditioning units on the roof from view and learned that a portion of the tile in the main lobby - the part containing the city logo - will be going in as one of the last items in the project. That's to make sure the heavy foot traffic by workers coming and going doesn't scuff up the decorative tile.

"We're hoping to do a grand opening, probably the first week in November," Greeson said.

That way, officials can allow for ample time for crews to finish up all the last minute 'punch list' items and the city can notify all residents about the dedication and grand opening in the utility billing that will go out at the end of October.