ELK GROVE (CBS13) – An empty Elk Grove shopping center is a reminder of how hard the city was hit during the recession. But city leaders say they have taken steps to bring back business, and it’s paying off.

“We are in a prime position to move, probably faster than any other city in the region,” Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steven Detrick said.

Building and business is booming again, according to city officials. Detrick says at least 18 more jobs have opened up at Apple.

“We’re seeing a lot of good signs and a lot of interest,” he said.

Large storefronts that used to be empty are filling up with other big name stores. DSW, Stein Mart and Fresh Market are all opening soon in the Laguna Crossroads Center off Bruceville Road and Elk Grove Boulevard.

“It’s nice having all the little stores and things around again. Too many things have closed,” said Elk Grove resident Susan Killian.

“We cut many of the residential and nonresidential fees to foster, bring more businesses to Elk Grove development,” said Detrick.

The vice mayor says many new homes are also being built thanks to more initiatives offered by the city.

“In 2009 was the low, about 200 homes were built in one year. Last year there was about 370 homes that were built, and we are already 10 percent above that for the first two months of the year,” he said.

Resident Dana Crumpacker says she’s even seeing the positive effects from more homes and stores popping up in town where she works at a local dental office.

“Things are picking up for us, and then in general that kind of means the economy is doing a little better too,” she said.

However, some residents say there are still problems and much more needs to be done before the city can bounce back.

“If you drive along Elk Grove Boulevard it’s another area that was really hard-hit — empty stores everywhere,” resident Mark Dendy said.

Detrick says there are still no definitive plans to start filling up the shopping center that never was. However, he says the more development they can do around the area, the faster they can spur that project along as well.

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