‘I will never come here alone.’

More on downtown, from Leroy (no last name).

“My ten years in downtown Stockton gave me some personal insights. First of all I believe Stockton made a mistake excepting government dollars in converting the Stockton Hotel into Low Income housing. That location could have been the nucleus for downtown revitalization,such as Bed and Breakfast, Boutique Hotel, Specialty retail, Winery tasting rooms, just to name a few.

“Secondly, my wife and I recently met some friends for dinner at French 25 near the movie theater in downtown. As I drove around the block looking for a parking space I noticed an intimating guy walking in the middle of the dark street. He frankly scared the hell out of me and I’m not a small guy.

“While inside the Restraunt we noticed several apparently homeless guys hanging around the Plaza panhandling. One was wrapped in a blanket approaching cars as they parked. My wife looked out the window and remarked “I will never come here alone”.  

“I’m old enough to remember a vital downtown Stockton. Movie theaters (saw my first 007 movie there), Restraunt’s, shopping, and more. To bring back anything similar to that time will require a Herculean effort.”


The original plans for the Hotel Stockton called for the upper floors to be offices. This required knocking out the walls of the small rooms, as modern offices prefer cube farm partitioning they can reconfigure. But Leslie Crow of the Cultural Heritage Board objected. Crow contended this defiled a historic structure. She complained to the State Office of Historic Preservation. The state then nixed Stockton’s plans.Then-City Manager Mark Lewis saved the project by switching tenants to low-income seniors, for which the project got federal tax credits. Unfortunately, these tenants don’t square well with the upscale restaurant. And the Barketts, who are the city’s leasing agent for that building, have never filled the ground floor with retail as originally envisioned.

As for the panhandlers, the city recently chipped in two bike cops to patrol downtown. These join the two paid for by the Downtown Stockton Alliance. I don’t know their hours, but by day the plaza is certainly safe.




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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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