Fresno Claims ‘Renaissance’ in Downtown

Fresno officials are hoping that the city’s approximately $200 million in investments in its downtown infrastructure will present itself as a sort of “renaissance” for the district.

“Private investment is starting to reach three times, almost four times, what government is investing,” Aaron Blair, executive director of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, said according to the Fresno Bee. “We are on a trajectory to just kill it in downtown.”

Breitbart News’s California team stayed in Downtown Fresno recently and the city resembled something of a ghost town after approximately 6 p.m.

A Gallup Poll on the 100 most populous U.S. metropolitan areas, released in April of last year, indicated that Fresno, Stockton and Bakersfield residents were the least likely to feel safe living in their neighborhoods. Residents of Raleigh, N.C., Boise City, Idaho, most likely to feel safe.

Blair was one of several speakers on Wednesday evening during Fresno’s annual State of Downtown event, which took place at the Warnors Center. Tickets to the event were $30 a person.

The Bee notes that since 2010, Fresno has built approximately 550 residential units. And with approximately $95 million in private-sector investments under construction currently, the city is slated to receive an additional $92 million in construction projects over the course of this coming year.

Jim Haron, owner of Haron Jaguar & Land Rover, was also honored with the Al Allen Downtown Leadership Award. His dealership is reportedly the only new-car dealership, and luxury at that, remaining in Fresno’s downtown. Many of the other luxury car makers followed a mass exodus to the northern parts of the city following years of socioeconomic blight.

Among other things, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin reportedly discussed her promise of investing $20 million to makeover the six-block Fulton Mall.

The project entails tearing out the pedestrian lane in order to restore traffic between Tuolumne and Inyo streets for the first time since the 1960s. “After 40 years of debate, we’re finally opening the Fulton Mall” to traffic, she reportedly said. She suggested that restaurants and residential buildings were being occupied at very fast rates.

During her State of the City address this past January, Mayor Swearengin proclaimed “the state of our city is stronger than ever” and she reminded local leaders that under her mayorship, Fresno had recovered the worst recession it had suffered in 70 years.

“For all of us who have been in the trenches, fighting for every inch of recovery and believe, truly, madly, deeply, that we’re on the cusp of something epic happening right here in Fresno… it’s about damn time somebody noticed,” she said.

One lucky man won two plane tickets from Fresno to San Diego during last night’s event. When Breitbart news asked Christopher Rocha, the owner of the blog Vintage Fresno, how he scored the seats, he said “by tweeting #IFlyAlaska at the State of Downtown last night.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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