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Lee Brand's lofty task: turn City Hall dreams into reality

Fulton Corridor Specific Plan

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The Skinny: The 52-year experiment called Fulton Mall is gone. Good riddance to the ghost of Victor Gruen. Fresno now has another shot at turning Fulton Corridor into something vibrant – you know, like it was in those politically incorrect 1950s when good manners in the Public Square were standard operating procedure. Is that possible in light of the culture wars and the revolution in retail over the past half-century? Let’s hope so.

The Rundown: “A great downtown is more than the sum of its parts. This Specific Plan is written with the knowledge that if the City of Fresno, the private sector, and our community get the basics right, something phenomenal will happen: a great Downtown that makes everyone proud and is an economic engine for the San Joaquin Valley….The key to making Downtown great is attracting many people to it: residents, workers, and visitors. This plan sets out to do just that by adding approximately 6,300 residential units, which in turn raises the Plan Area’s resident population from 3,877 people to approximately 16,000 people. In addition, the introduction of up to 3.9 million square feet of office space, 1.5 million square feet of retail space, and 145,000 square feet of industrial space will bring in over 18,000 new jobs to Downtown. This translates into approximately 34,000 new non-visitor people in Downtown. The visitor population – restaurant and entertainment patrons, tourists on their way to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon, Fresno Convention Center attendees, proposed High-Speed Rail riders, to name a few – will raise the number of people in Downtown even more. More people translates into vibrancy, vitality, and increased income for the City.” (Source: Fulton Corridor Specific Plan)

The Pledge: “Today we break ground for the future of our downtown and our city. In about 400 days we will be back here to cut a ribbon that will welcome new customers, expand businesses and encourage new investment. You will remember this day as a turning point. This is our turn for optimism and to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of so many dedicated people.” – Mayor Ashley Swearengin, March 3, 2016, on the official ground-breaking for the Fulton Mall Reconstruction Project. (Source: City of Fresno)

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

1 Comment

  1. The City of Fresno is the 5th largest City in the State of California and has an annual Budget of almost a billion dollars, with approximately 4,000 employees, and does NOT have an Internal Audit Unit to ensure the proper accounting, internal controls and safeguarding of all City Assets are in place and functioning as intended. As the retired Principal Internal Auditor for the City of Fresno, effective January 2016, this area should be of significance to the City and newly elected Mayor and all Council Members. All the top ten Cities in the State of California, except the City of Fresno, have an Internal Audit Unit. For the structure, benefits and type of Internal Audits performed by the Internal Audit Unit I oversaw while employed with the City, I reference all viewers of this comment to the City’s Administrative Order 1-10. I would hope that this significant area of concern and importance might be #11 on the Mayor’s Listing going forward. Thank You!

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