Mayor Swearengin Applauds Council Vote in Support of Restructuring City’s Economic Development Efforts

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today applauded City Council for its overwhelming vote in support of restructuring the city’s economic development efforts to more sharply focus on strengthening the local economy through revitalizing downtown, improving neighborhoods and supporting locally-owned businesses.

Council today agreed to change the name of the City’s former Economic Development Department to the Downtown and Community Revitalization Department to reflect the new emphasis.

“I appreciate City Council’s interest in and support of the mission and priorities of our new department,” said Mayor Swearengin. “We will continue to partner closely with outside agencies to make sure that our overall economy improves, but our new department reflects the city’s responsibility to use our resources to focus on revitalizing downtown, improving our neighborhoods, and helping our local businesses grow and succeed.”

The new department is led by Craig Scharton, a former Fresno City Council member who has held executive director positions for successful downtown revitalization programs in Pleasanton and Hanford, California. Before taking his position with the city, Scharton was chief executive of the Central Valley Business Incubator.

The department’s early initiatives include the enhancement of downtown signage, façade improvement projects and the development of sustainable funding for revitalization efforts. In addition, the department will promote the expansion of local contracting for city business and encourage more business-to-business activities to keep dollars circulating through Fresno’s economy.

CONTACT: Randy Reed, Director of Communications (559) 621-7777