This Week at City Hall - Great News For Downtown Fresno
10/03/2011
Great news for Downtown Fresno!
 
This week begins with some real momentum in our efforts to bring life back to downtown Fresno and the surrounding neighborhoods.
 
Late Friday, the City announced that escrow closed in the purchase of one of Fresno’s iconic buildings, the landmark Pacific Southwest Building (formerly the Security Bank Building).  The 315-foot-tall building is believed to be the tallest between San Francisco and Los Angeles and was the most expensive building built anywhere in California in the 1920s.
 
The building was purchased out of foreclosure by Sevak Kachadurian and his brother and partner, Serko, who bring 20 years of development experience to Fresno.   That experience includes working in urban areas that are in the beginning stages of a successful revitalization effort.
 
Sevak Kachadurian will live in the building to help determine what renovations will be made to make the Pacific Southwest Building a productive part of our downtown revitalization efforts.
 
The announcement came a day after Fresno City Council approved using $859,868 in federal housing funding to help rehabilitate Hotel Fresno into a mixed-use, mixed-income development with six affordable housing units, 19 moderate-income units, 47 market rate units, and more than 19,500 square feet of commercial/retail space on the ground floor.
 
In other news related to the urban core, the City will release its draft Fulton Corridor Specific Plan within the next two weeks.  The plan will determine the Fulton Mall’s future form and function.  In addition, the first meeting of the Downtown Neighborhoods Advisory Committee to review the draft Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan will be held at Roosevelt High School Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m.
 
Mayor Swearengin’s Activities
 
While some of these activities outlined below are not public meetings, these are some of the issues being addressed this week by Mayor Swearengin:
  • Joining members of the Fresno First Steps Home board of directors to announce a large grant to help fight homelessness in our city;
     
  • Participating in a meeting of the Downtown Neighborhoods Community Advisory Committee to discuss the draft Downtown Neighborhoods Community Plan, which lays out the vision for changing the condition of more than 7,000 acres in the middle of our city.  The meeting will be held at Roosevelt High School, 4250 E. Tulare St., Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.  More information on the draft Plan is available at www.fresnodowntownplans.com;
     
  • Speaking at  a ceremony recognizing the Fresno Police Department’s accreditation with excellence from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies;
     
  • Holding a number of internal meetings related to the city’s economic development strategy;
     
  • Taking a driving tour of the proposed high-speed rail alignment;
     
  • Receiving a status report on the Woodward Park Master Plan;
     
  • Discussing Learn2Earn, our adult education initiative, with General Education Development (GED) providers;
     
  • Speaking at the opening ceremonies for the Big Fresno Fair and the dedication of the Fresno Assembly Center Memorial at the Fair.  The Memorial is co-sponsored by the Big Fresno Fair and the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League;
     
  • Meeting with leaders of the Hmong community to discuss issues of interest;
     
  • Welcoming our Sister City delegation from Muenster, Germany, to Fresno at the City Council meeting Thursday, with a reception following the presentation of a proclamation.  The Mayors of Fresno and Muenster will be signing a document reaffirming the Sister City relationship during the reception.

Regional issues will be focus of California Partnership for San Joaquin Valley events
 
Mayor Swearengin will participate in two events focusing on issues impacting the San Joaquin Valley in Bakersfield this week.
 
The California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, a public-private partnership that addresses economic, environmental and social issues in the eight-county region, will hold its quarterly meeting on Thursday.  High-priority topics for the meeting include updates on the San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium and high-speed rail.
 
Mayor Swearengin is chair of the Partnership’s board of directors.
 
On Friday, Mayor Swearengin will participate in a “State of the Valley” panel with Marek Gootman, director of strategic partnerships for the Metropolitan Policy Program at The Brookings Institution; Mike Dozier, director of the Office of Community and Economic Development at Fresno State; and Corwin Harper, senior vice president and area manager for Kaiser Permanente.  The panel is part of the Partnership’s annual summit.
 
‘Go Green and Clean’ at Selma Layne Park
 
The “Go Green and Clean” park beautification program will be held at Selma Layne Park, 2065 E. Shepherd, on Saturday, Oct. 8.
 
In the program, volunteers participate in basic park care through litter removal, flower bed raking, pruning, painting, graffiti removal and other light tasks from 8 a.m. to noon.
 
Volunteers are encouraged to wear long pants, hats, gloves and sun block and bring plenty of drinking water. Basic work tools and supplies will be provided by the City of Fresno.  Each volunteer will be required to complete a volunteer form and waiver.
 
This Week’s Meetings
 
Here are other city-related meetings this week:
  • General Plan: Sustainability, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., Mosqueda Community Center, 4670 E. Butler;
     
  • Downtown Neighborhoods Community Advisory Committee, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 5:30 p.m., Roosevelt High School, 4250 E. Tulare Street;
     
  • Planning Commission, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m., Fresno City Council chambers.
     
  • City Council meeting, Thursday, Oct. 6, 8:30 a.m., Fresno City Council chambers.
 
Follow Mayor Swearengin, City of Fresno on Twitter
 
For up-to-date information on happenings related to the City of Fresno, follow Mayor Swearengin on Twitter @MayorSwearengin or the City of Fresno @CityofFresno.