Good old Turlock now a larger city

Over the weekend, I visited my alma mater, Cal State Univ, Stanislaus, located at Turlock, CA after a long time. Its been over 4-5 years since I last visited the city.

I have fond memories of Turlock. During the time I studied there for my MBA degree, Turlock was a huge relief far away from the stressful life I was living for years in Mumbai, India with its overcrowded trains, pollution and monsoon muck. Turlock, in contrast, was always a homely small university town with its rich orchards, fields, ranches and friendly people. The town-folk were very friendly with unknown people at shopping areas caring to say a howdy or a "Ha' yu doin'" to a stranger from another country.

During this visit over the weekend, I was quite surprised to see the looks of a pretty telling housing boom that has transformed the city with larger residential areas. Needless to say, the University has expanded (and is still expanding) with pristine new buildings anticipating the needs for future students. There are sprawling shopping centers with the usual sprinking of large stores that one finds in every city. Sigh:The sprawling green lawns and large open lands of the college are shrinking and the many almond orchards and vineyards that lined up the college backroads and Geer road are all but gone.

To my knowledge, Turlock, economically, does not have major industry concentrations and major employers, other than the earlier ones related to the agriculture industry and the college. And Modesto, the larger city nearby, has not expanded with major employers other than E&J Gallo winery, etc. I guess that the low cost of housing here may have motivated people to move from other areas such as Pleasanton where affordability is almost non-existent. Telecommuting or weekly commuting may be driving this move.

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Shreedhar Ganapathy

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