Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

‘The state of downtown is transforming’


As you might already know, Mayor Ashley Swearengin held her inaugural State of Downtown breakfast this morning.

It was a sold-out event, impressive considering it started at 7:30 a.m. Way to get up early, downtown supporters. The chatter I’ve heard thus far sounds mixed. On one hand, it was a good pep talk. On the other, it was just that — more talking.

For more, you can read this wrap-up from The Bee. Or head over to The City’s Web site, where you can watch video from the event. The Business Journal also has good coverage.

One of the really cool parts of Swearengin’s presentation was an animated transformation of a section of the Fulton Mall, created by Bertz-Rosa Design. The point was to show Fresnans what the mall could be.

The picture above is the last scene of the transformation. You can watch it from the start here. Rooftop partying, happy shoppers, cars — I like it.

Responses to "‘The state of downtown is transforming’"

Ernie says:

I also see cars, partying, and happy shoppers…and a lot of white folk. Maybe I’m just seeing things. A case could be made for the guy in the white shirt, and maybe the violinist is Patrick Contreras.

Dale Stewart says:

This everything the mall should be, with the cafes,
slow car traffic, bikes, mixed use zoning.

MsJoey says:

I was at the event and it was very inspirational. My favorite part was the animated transformation….oh and Kevin Hill’s music.

BUT the one thing I walked away with was, “Will she follow through?”
Strangely, she made NO promises. Which is good and bad for a politician. She talked about what “could” be if “you” the tax payers and property owners get on board with the revitalization. But she really never said what “she’d” do to keep the momentum going.
I was interested to know why she omitted her Q and A segment at the end of her speech.
And I wonder how many of those who attended are actual property owners and know what a PBID is.

*I love quotation marks!

MF says:

Would this be the result of gentrification? The picture/transformation looks nice, but there would be a flipside, right? Rents escalate, cost of business rises.. what happens to the current individuals who occupy the downtown area when they are “priced out” of the community? Is gentrification the answer?

Definitions of gentrification on the Web:

the restoration of run-down urban areas by the middle class (resulting in the displacement of low-income residents)

Gentrification, or urban gentrification, is the change in an urban area associated with the movement of more affluent individuals into a lower …

the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier usually poorer residents

Blake says:

I’m all for this transformation of downtown—especially the idea of the majority of Fresnans to psychologically ‘re-own’ this area.

I like the video presentation.

But…as per the original post, I’ve heard talk, I’ve seen graphs,I’ve been to meetings and now I’ve seen very inspriational video displays.

Let’s see some action.

blake says:

and as for worries about gentrification, I’d say a bigger worry is the geographical distance(=’s psychological distance) between the rich and poor around here. Assumptions that rich=north/poor=south). As dumb as it may seem, I think a *little* gentrification of downtown would be a positive thing for the town as a whole.

Michael Medrano says:

@MF…ah, yes, gentrification. Unfortunately gentrification has almost always affected poor people, especially people of “color”. It was sad to see the Botanica disappear; even though the video was a hypothetical downtown transformation.

MF says:

I’m all for a booming downtown urban metropolis center here in Fresno, economic development, job creation, etc. But if gentrification were to happen, I’d find it odd/troubling that the downtown area which has been basically abandoned by the city would then return to push the majority of the current tenants out of their livelihoods. I guess, just like they say, “money talks..”.

Not trying to be argumentative or anything, just trying to be aware of current affairs in the area.

@blake What is psychologically reowning the area?

ha ha says:

Fulton mall will never be anything more than it is unless someone invents OUTDOOR AIR CONDITIONING.
Do these retarded city leaders forget we live IN FRESNO? 115 DEGREES IN THE SUMMER????

Put a tinted dome over it (and some shiny rims maybe), and give away free ice cream, MAYBE people will show up.

Mike Oz says:

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure River Park doesn’t just shut down for the summer.

blake says:

I think what I meant by ‘pschologically re-owning’ was this:
For a great deal of Fresnans, downtown means nothing to them. They don’t go there; it’s not part of their lives; they don’t believe it effects them; they,in all reality, don’t even feel it’s part of ‘their’ town.
Part of this is because of the physical seperation (miles and miles —let’s talk sprawl) that seperate them.
I was just saying that the seperation was more than physical.
I was referring to that sort of ‘ownership’ that people feel when they care about something, value something, and want to work toward it’s good.

MF says:

…that is what I first thought of when I read it. Thanks for elaborating on it. I’m just trying to better understand the downtown situation and the community better.

ha ha ha !!!


CJ28 says:

Doesn’t look like our downtown, but maybe someday it will be that nice.