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LODI — Lodi has big plans for the next few years, Mayor Mark Chandler told business people during his state of the city address Tuesday morning at the Woodbridge Golf and Country Club.
“It is my opinion Lodi is about to blossom,” he said.
Plans are underway for two new hotels in the city. One would be a Marriott-style hotel and the other would be a “high-end” hotel, Chandler said. Plans are still in the early stages and Chandler said he could not name the hotels.
In addition, Lodi’s science museum, World of Wonders, is about to undergo a major expansion. WOW President Sally Snyde shared plans to buy buildings on Sacramento Street, across from the museum, to build a park and new facilities. The number of exhibits will double. There will be an amphitheater, a media dome and urban park with a carousel with hand-carved figures that represent the Central Valley’s wildlife. The goal is to make it the cultural center of downtown Lodi.
Snyde said planners expect they will need to raise $2.5 million to start the project. The expansion is planned in three phases. The first is the purchase and demolition of the buildings. She said that would likely be the longest phase, but once it’s done, Phases 2 and 3 could likely be complete in two years.
Phase 2 is construction and Phase 3 is the closure of Sacramento Street between Pine and Elm for the urban park.
Chandler said WOW was one reason tourism was up 18 percent in the past year. He also credited wineries, the Amgen Tour of California and bike tourism overall as well as the Crane Festival.
He also said retail business was growing in the city, both national chains and locally owned stores. A new Sprouts grocery store is slated for Reynolds Ranch at the beginning of 2017.
“There’s never been a better time to shop Lodi,” he said.
Chandler ends his one-year term as mayor on Dec. 7.