Mayor Swearengin: ‘Historic’ Federal Grant Will Help Return Downtown Fresno to Prosperity

FRESNO – Calling it “a historic moment for the City of Fresno,” Mayor Ashley Swearengin today said a $16 million federal grant for a Fulton Mall reconstruction project will help return downtown Fresno to its prosperous past. The grant is one of the largest investments of federal or state funds in a single City of Fresno project in the City’s history.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined Mayor Swearengin to announce the grant in a ceremony at the Fulton Mall. The funding was awarded through the department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant program.

“This grant is a significant moment in Fresno’s history,” Mayor Swearengin said. “The message that Secretary Foxx and the federal government are sending to us today is loud and clear: They believe in downtown Fresno, and they believe it will be the vibrant economic center for the entire region. Our opportunity now is to carry this momentum forward to realize that vision.

“I appreciate the commitment that Secretary Foxx and his department have made to the future of our city and region. A prosperous downtown is an important part of Fresno’s past, and this grant will help our downtown return to prosperity.”

The City’s Fulton Mall Reconstruction Project will reconstruct the Fulton Mall in downtown Fresno as a complete street by reintroducing vehicle traffic lanes over the existing pedestrian mall. The reconstruction would occur over 11 city blocks and include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations and streetscape improvement elements.

“These TIGER projects are the best argument you can make for investment in our transportation infrastructure,” said Secretary Foxx. “The Fulton Mall reconstruction project will revitalize Fresno’s downtown business district, increase local economic activity and improve transportation options for residents.
Mayor Swearengin thanked U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; Congressman Jim Costa; state officials and leaders of the federal Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, who have been working with the City on economic development and neighborhood revitalization efforts for almost two years, for their efforts in helping the City receive the grant.

Brian Kelly, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency, said the project will bring both transportation and economic benefits to Fresno.

"State, local and federal transportation partners are joining together today to improve urban transportation connectivity with high-speed rail and support job growth to the Central Valley. This project will help increase transportation options at the Fulton Mall, bringing more shoppers and economic activity to downtown Fresno," Kelly said.

Raul De Alba, who owns several Fulton Mall businesses along with his family, welcomed today’s announcement and the economic benefits it is expected to generate.

“Being visible to new customers is the best advertising we could have,” De Alba said. “We serve a great variety of customers already, and we can’t wait to serve even more.”

The total cost of the City’s project is $20 million. No City of Fresno General Fund money will be used for the project. The remainder of the funding is expected to come from state and Measure C Transit Oriented Development sources.

The highly competitive TIGER program offers one of the only federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects that often are not suitable for other federal funding sources.

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