City Moves Major Economic Development Projects Forward

Council Approves Heavy Maintenance Facility Land Acquisition, Infrastructure Funding, Development Agreement with Betts

FRESNO, CA – The City of Fresno is celebrating the approval of three items during yesterday’s City Council meeting involving major economic development projects that will provide incentives and actions that may likely have a dramatic impact on Fresno’s economy.

The items include: accepting an Economic Development Facilities Grant award that will be used to fund infrastructure improvements in the South Van Ness Industrial Area; authorizing the City Manager to acquire properties for the proposed Fresno High Speed Rail Heavy Maintenance Facility; and extending the development agreement between the City of Fresno and Betts Spring to incentivize relocate their headquarters from the Bay Area to Fresno.

“Our Council not only recognized the incredible opportunities these projects will bring to Fresno, they showed the leadership necessary to make those opportunities happen,” said Mayor Swearengin. “Any time we can move the needle to increase job opportunities and improve the quality of life in our city, it’s a reason to celebrate.”

The Economic Development Facilities Grant award of $3,044,202 is a 70/30 split with $1,454,600 included in the City’s approved FY18 budget for a total of $4,498,800 to be used to fund infrastructure improvements in the South Van Ness Industrial Area. The deteriorating conditions in the area create major obstacles to existing businesses, as well as a hindrance in the attraction of new businesses.  Improvements will include curb and gutter replacement, street widening and or pavement as needed, pavement resurfacing (grind and overlay), storm drain infrastructure, traffic access and circulation and safety enhancements.

The vote on the land acquisition for a potential High Speed Rail Heavy Maintenance Facility authorized the City Manager to enter into conditional purchase and sales agreements to acquire properties bounded by American Avenue, Clayton Avenue and Cedar Avenue and the Burlington North Santa Fe mainline tracks. The agreements will allow the City to control the property for 12 months through nonrefundable deposits in a total amount not to exceed $250,000, thereby improving Fresno’s competitive advantage for the rail facility.

The development agreement between the City and Betts Springs, a custom spring manufacturer, included sharing property tax growth, sales tax growth, business tax abeyance, payment for related off-site improvements and plan-check rebates. However, the Great Recession affected Betts’ property tax and sales tax values and as a result, Betts asked the City to consider extending the agreement through December 31, 2026 in exchange for maintaining its headquarters in Fresno and retaining its work force for the next ten years.

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