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Tracy, CA

Billing itself as "one of the friendliest little cities in California," Tracy is located roughly 60 miles east of San Francisco. The city's roots are firmly tied to the agriculturally rich Central San Joaquin Valley. While Tracy may be defined by its farming heritage, it was originally established by the Central Pacific Railroad as a transportation hub. It was named for Lathrop J. Tracy, a railroad director and commercial grain merchant from Mansfield, Ohio. The town of Tracy incorporated in 1910. An irrigation district was established in 1915, which led to the start of a booming agricultural industry that continues today.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Because of its proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, Tracy has experienced rapid growth in recent years, emerging into an important bedroom community for the nearby metropolitan areas of San Francisco and San Jose. Between 1990 and 2007, Tracy's population more than doubled, swelling to nearly 80,000 residents. At the same time, the city has endured some growing pains associated with this expansion, including traffic problems and a degree of overcrowding.

Despite this level of growth, Tracy continues to offer a coveted quality of life. With some of the best schools in the county and a host of community activities and recreational opportunities, Tracy has become a magnet for families seeking the good life for their children. The city offers its residents a multitude of housing options, from starter homes to luxury dwellings. It also has an array of dining, shopping and retail choices, ranging from the local West Valley Mall to the Historic Downtown District.

Some of the more popular residential neighborhoods are Barcelona, Lourence Ranch, Redbridge, Westgate, Belconte, and Crossroads.

The city has a population of about 80,000 residents and more than 18,000 houses. There are about 900 houses placed in a square mile's area and more than 70 percent of those are occupied by the owners.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

Tracy has been successful in drawing major business and industries over the past few years. The city also drew a number of families due to its low home prices compared to that of the Bay Area home prices. The families that also were attracted to the city were looking for a comfortable lifestyle.

The major employers in Tracy are Summit Logistics, Defense Depot San Joaquin, Tracy Unified School District, Deuel Vocational Institute, Diversified Collection Service and City of Tracy.

Industries that support Tracy's economy are healthcare, construction, educational services, computer and electronic products and finance and insurance.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts: Built in 1923 as a venue for vaudeville acts, this historic theater was shuttered in 1977 and used as a storage facility for the next two decades. Over time, city leaders and art patrons came to recognize the cultural importance of this regal building, launching a massive restoration effort to return the theater to its former glory. The modern Grand Theatre is now home to an extensive performing arts center, which contains a 560-seat proscenium theater and a 110-seat studio theater. The center also features dance, music and art studios, which are made available to members of the community.
  • Music in the Park: Outdoor concerts are held in Lincoln Park during the months of June and July.
  • The Tracy Art League: This nonprofit community group dedicated to promoting local artists sponsors the annual Expressions Art Show and Sale every February.

Proximity to the Bay Area allows Tracy residents to enjoy access to numerous professional sports teams, such as:

  • The San Francisco Giants: Major League Baseball team
  • The Oakland Athletics ("The A's"): Major League Baseball team
  • The San Francisco 49ers: National Football League team
  • The Oakland Raiders: National Football League team
  • The Golden State Warriors: National Basketball Association team

FAMILY FUN

  • Tracy Historical Museum: This museum features displays and exhibits detailing the history of Tracy.
  • Altamont Raceway: This popular racing venue first opened as the Altamont Speedway in 1966. After extensive refurbishing in 2006, its name was changed to Altamont Raceway. The track is fully sanctioned by both NASCAR and USAC, and hosts numerous races throughout the year, including the Whelen All-American Series and Midget and Sprint Car racing. The raceway also features other entertainment events.
  • San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge: Located roughly 24 miles outside of the city limits, at the confluence of three area rivers, this nature preserve is home to wildlife and plants native to California's Central Valley. Habitats include wetlands, grasslands and riparian woodlands.

EVENTS

The Tracy Dry Bean Festival is an annual event celebrating dry beans. From chili beans to garbanzos (and every bean in between), the festival features a chili cook-off and a rib cook-off, as well as a competition for Bean Princess and Queen. Also featured is the "Ride for the Red" motorcycle poker run, proceeds from which benefit the American Red Cross.

EDUCATION

There are several college campuses in the Tracy area, including the following:

  • San Joaquin Delta College-Tracy Center: Opened in 2009, this two-year school offers associate degrees and vocational certificates to more than 2,000 students annually.
  • University of the Pacific: Just 20 minutes away in Stockton, California, the main campus of the University of the Pacific houses the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences alongside 80 undergraduate and 18 graduate majors.
  • The Tracy Adult School is a continuing-education program organized by the Tracy Unified School District that offers high school completion programs as well as vocational training to adults 18 and over in several career fields, including medical assistant and pharmacy technician.

LOCAL MEDIA

  • The Tracy Press is the city's local paper and is published semi-weekly. Established in 1898, it has been owned and operated by the Matthews family since 1943. It is one of the few independent, family-owned publications still in existence in the state of California.