California Still Has Small Ag Towns? You Bet

<p>California's Central Valley is a distinctive place - a farm belt with many small towns featuring classic downtowns. <em>California Planning &amp; Development Report</em> rates the best of these downtowns.</p>
February 17, 2008, 1pm PST | Paul Shigley
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"The Central Valley is a land of small towns, many dating to the 19th century and laid out on a grid that straddles the railroad. The classic valley town has a business district along a primary thoroughfare, handsome public buildings that often front on a public square or park, and leafy residential neighborhoods just off downtown. Frequently, there's a sign or arch stretching across the Main Street at the entrance to the downtown – often with a corny saying. The high school might be right downtown. There is always a strong connection to agriculture.

Many Central Valley cities are struggling, and plenty of the downtowns are badly neglected, even abandoned. But there are some downtowns that are gems - centers of community and commerce that reflect a true sense of the valley's distinctive place. Central Valley sprawl has not yet obliterated the great downtowns that were created more than a hundred years ago, and in many cases they are coming back."

California Planning & Development Report rates the top three Central Valley downtowns, and lists five more of note.

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Published on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 in California Planning & Development Report
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