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People of Woodland: Ron Caceres

IMG_6685-1 Tell me your name and what your occupation is.
My name is Ron Caceres.  I am a real estate owner, manager and developer, and also the President of the Historic Woodland Downtown Business Association (HWDBA).

In what way are you a part of the community? (volunteer work, boards, building owner, developer, etc)
I think of myself as an advocate for downtown Woodland.  I am involved in trying to bring more life to our historic downtown.  Whether it is by purchasing vacant buildings and restoring them, or by being on the board of HWDBA, which is a volunteer position.  I see the potential our downtown has and want it to be a vibrant and thriving downtown.  I spent over 5 years helping the city bring the State Theatre back to life, and in the process met a lot of great people.  These people really helped me and were kindred spirits.  There are so many of us that love this community.  I’m inspired all the time by the people that I meet that feel, like I do, that Woodland is a great town and a great place to live.

What projects are you currently working?  Can you provide a summary of each of them?
I am working on several!  We recently completed the renovation of the Daily Democrat newspaper building, and I am proud to have brought Blue Note Brewery and Uvaggio wine bar there to go along with Subway and our office tenants.  Besides the theatre project, I am very excited about working on a music venue for downtown.  We already have a great Opera House, but Woodland need something like the Palms in Winters or Harlows in Sacramento, and I am working to make that happen.  I am also working on a freeway billboard sign for Interstate 5, that will direct people to our historic downtown.  And last but not least, I am trying to bring more housing downtown.  We don’t really have a lot of urban living options downtown, and I want to change that. We are building four apartments over our 540 Main building (where Stack’d & Brew’d and Culture Shock yogurt are) and I am looking at several other potential housing projects. Most important is the work I am doing to support downtown.  As a board member of HWDBA, I am trying to create more events for downtown Woodland that bring people out to shop and play.  I think the more great events we can have in our downtown, the more the merchants will benefit, and the more the people who live and work here will realize what great stores and shops there are in our downtown.

What are the biggest challenges of working on these projects in a historic town?
I’m pretty lucky in that the city is mostly behind what I am doing, and the city council on down to the city staff members all seem to support and understand the value of economic development.  The biggest challenges include the large expense of rehabbing these buildings and bringing them up to current codes, as well as just the time it takes to get projects approved and funded.

How has being a part of our community changed your life?
More than I can even say.  The people of Woodland are so great and down to earth, that I love living and working here.  I’ve made some amazing friendships here.  Having grown up in the Bay Area in Marin County, I wasn’t really ever exposed to agriculture and how food got on our table.  Now, many of my friends are farmers or work in agriculture, so I now have a much better appreciation of farming and the ag industry.  I love living in an agricultural town where we grow so many essential crops.

Where do you see Woodland five years and 10 years from now?
On the map!  I think we are definitely at the tipping point.  It’s amazing to me to see Woodland adding these major food companies here like Boundary Bend, SF Spice and La Tourangelle, to name a few.  We are also home to Clark Pacific, the company that built Levi Stadium and is building Apple’s new headquarters.  Also, the number of seed companies in this area is exploding.  We have friends that own and operate TS&L seed.  I’m sure those guys never imagined that huge companies like Syngenta and Monsanto would be located right next door to them, but there they are.  We also have friends that developed Route 3 wines.  They are local farmers that came up with a great homegrown product.  I think in the near future, more companies, both large and small, will locate here and that will help drive our community to thrive.  We have a great asset in UC Davis, which is close by, we are centrally located as a distribution hub, and we are surrounded by prime ag land.  In 5-10 years, I think we will also have lots more housing options, and more infill development in our downtown.  I have been involved in the discussion on our new general plan that is directing Woodland’s growth for the next 20 years.  We have come a long way already with our water delivery system and we are also working to solve our flood issue, which needs to happen.  We’ve already made significant progress, and I am optimistic that will continue.  My goal is to look back in a few years and say that I had a small part in shaping a thriving downtown Woodland.