Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer called Friday a “historic day” after plans to use a proposed $250 million grant in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised May budget proposal toward infrastructure and transportation in downtown Fresno.
If the money can survive the legislature’s approval amidst a projected $32 billion budget deficit, the list from Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer includes updated sewer systems, drains, sidewalks, green space, an intermodal transit center and two new parking structures.
“We have a particular focus in the May Revise on the incredible work that’s been done in Fresno and the incredible planning that has been done that allows us to make a commitment to Fresno, in particular, to accelerate that effort because they are teed up and ready to do something transformational,” Newsom said.
Said Dyer: “I want to thank Gov. Newsom for his confidence in Fresno. As he noted, we are doing incredible work and have invested countless planning hours to catalyze new housing in our downtown core.
“We are, indeed, teed up and ready to do something transformational. This $250 million is the kind of boost that will get us across the finish line and allow Fresno to realize its destiny as one of California’s premier cities.”
Watch: Dyers Details How $250 Million Will Be Spent
Modernized Sewers, Drainage, Sidewalks, Green Space, Parking for Downtown Fresno
Dyer said putting money into downtown Fresno infrastructure was the best investment because of its ability to accelerate housing construction in the area. The cost of parking and the cost of adapting complicate housing construction.
Some infrastructure in the area dates as far back as 1896, said Brock Buche, director of public utilities for the city of Fresno. Some water mains date back to the 1930s, he said.
Developers have long bemoaned outdated infrastructure as a reason projects take so long and cost so much money.
A revised code from the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District delayed the construction of the South Stadium Project by developer Mehmet Noyan. The delay spurred Fresno City Councilmembers to ultimately shoot down the housing project alongside Chukchansi Stadium after 13 years of work.
“We want people moving to the downtown area,” Dyer said. That’s going to require housing. Housing is going to require infrastructure.”
Funding for New Parking Structures
The plan would also dedicate $70 million to two new parking structures, adding 2,000 parking spaces to the area.
According to the mayor, the proposed funding would provide significant capital improvements. Among them: new parking structures, green space, and street and landscape investments.
The state money also would create safe, walkable neighborhoods with access to community amenities — all of which are important to Dyer’s goal of having 10,000 downtown residents.