Downtown Fresno Progress Presented at Breakfast

Feb 05, 2013 No Comments by

FRESNO – Downtown Fresno supporters came together for the State of Downtown Breakfast inside The Fresno Ballroom in the Pacific Southwest Building Tuesday morning to look back at a year’s worth of progress in the downtown Fresno area, as well as to build momentum for its future.

Kate Borders, president and CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, pointed out changes and modifications that have taken place over the past year.  Members of the Downtown Ambassador Program, which was launched in July, have taken to the streets to act as a source of information for those who work, live and visit in downtown.  They have also provided a sense of security for those unfamiliar with the area, and have interacted with more than 30,000 people to date.


Henry Beer, a national expert on public spaces, points out many of downtown Fresno’s ideal qualities at the 2013 State of Downtown Breakfast.

owntown has also gone through beautification.  Plants and flowers have been added, colorful banners have been hung, and more trash receptacles have been put into place.

Events have generated bigger crowds.  Annual happenings like Sudz in the City, Fiestas Patrias, and the Downtown Fresno Christmas Parade have welcomed visitors into the area.  The Downtown Fresno Ice Rink on the Fulton Mall welcomed 30,000 skaters during its run, 30 percent of them never having come there.  This month alone there are 42 unique events happening downtown, with plenty of restaurants, shops and theaters to visit.

Property owners have showed the area support, with 304 of them participating in the Property-based Business Improvement District.  Even with all the good that is happening, more struggles and challenges lay ahead.

“We realize there is no shortage of obstacles in revitalizing downtown,” Borders said.

The morning’s keynote speaker was Henry Beer, a national expert on public spaces.  He mentioned some of the valuable qualities downtown Fresno has, including its pleasant climate and landscape, and affordable housing.  He praised the group assembled for its passion for downtown and willingness to plan.

“Without this room there is no discourse, and without discourse there is no community,” Beer said.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said the City of Fresno has also sensed a shift happening in the way the community has rallied around downtown.

“At City Hall we’re starting to feel the wind on our backs instead of our faces,” she said.

This morning also celebrated the launch of the new non-profit Fresno Citizens for a Strong Economy’s “I Believe in Downtown Fresno” campaign, which asks citizens to make a pledge in support of the area.  The group has a goal of participating in 100 gatherings before the end of 2013.

“We’ve created this organization to help our community understand that great cities have great downtowns, and that we have the ability to build a great downtown in Fresno,” said FCSE board Chair Jake A. Soberal.

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About the author

James Olinger is a native of the San Joaquin Valley. He graduated from West Hills College in Coalinga, California in 2000 with an associate's degree in liberal arts. He joined Business Street in 2004 as a staff writer, and became the associate editor in 2007. He maintains that position today, writing for Business Street Online in a variety of topics.
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