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City Projects Move Ahead
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Shooting for the first week in November, the new Civic Center to house the Escalon Police Department is nearing completion. Just a few items remain on the 'punch list' before plans can be made to move the department to its new location on McHenry Avenue.

The move is just one of several items of business keeping Interim City manager Doug Dunford - who also serves as Escalon Police Chief - busy in both offices.

"We're extremely close," Dunford said of seeing the police facility nearly finished.

Also in the police department, interviews have been done with 11 candidates for the part-time animal services officer, with some 75 applications submitted to the city for the weekend post. After the round of interviews with 11, the field was narrowed down to the final three.

"We hope to have that person on board sometime in November," Dunford added.

Also on the books is a special meeting on Monday, Oct. 26, a combined City Council-Planning Commission workshop on downtown beautification, scheduled at the Escalon Community Center.

The project will cover portions of the First and Main Street area, and public input is encouraged, with all residents invited to attend the Monday night session. The meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

"November 2 we will have our unmet transit needs hearing and discuss a new transit contact and also in November we have the Veterans Day parade coming up," Dunford explained. "Everything is moving forward."

For his part, the police chief-interim city manager is settling in, getting used to the daily routine in his new office.

"I'm really on a daily evaluation," he said. "So far I'm finding out I need a bigger cell phone battery ... I'm on the phone a lot."

Much of that time is spent in discussions with city council members about one issue or another, something coming up on a future agenda or just questions posed that Dunford gets the answer for and passes on to the council member asking the question.

Dunford is on a 3- to 6-month trial period in the city manager post, taking over for Greg Greeson, who was fired earlier this month.

He said it is a busy time for the city and he is working hard to handle both jobs at the moment, moving from his office in City Hall over to the nearby police department to address issues there. He also praised police department staffers for stepping up and taking on larger roles while he devotes time to the city hall side of the job.

"They want to see how I fit in with the organization," Dunford said of having time to prove himself in the city manager post. "Are they able to work with me, are we able to work together."

Dunford said he wants the city to be more proactive, with a more visible presence at community events and possibly even hosting a Chamber of Commerce mixer.