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Fresno’s Downtown Improvements War Chest Grows to Nearly $300 Million

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The city of Fresno has nearly $300 million earmarked to upgrade downtown infrastructure. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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The city of Fresno, which had already secured $250 million in state funding to improve Downtown’s infrastructure, is getting a $43 million check from California to modernize sewers, streets, and parking in the area that will enable the city to add 862 more housing units.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development conditionally awarded Fresno and six other governmental agencies money from its $239 million Infill Infrastructure Grant Catalytic program Friday.

The money will go toward upgrading water projects, roadway improvements, and sewer main replacements in downtown and nearby Chinatown.

“These funds will serve as a catalyst to our revitalization efforts by accelerating housing in the Downtown and Chinatown area,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said in a news release. “I am grateful to the many partners who collaborated on this effort, and my staff for their hard work in pursuit of this competitive grant.”

Nearly $300 Million Should Set Downtown Fresno Up for Housing Boom

The HCD released the grant money to aid in the construction of new housing throughout the state.

In downtown Fresno, infrastructure costs have long been a barrier to developing housing. Some water and sewer lines in downtown and Chinatown date back to 1896, said Brock Buche, director of public utilities for the city of Fresno.

In total, Buche estimated upgrading downtown Fresno’s water and sewer lines could cost $160 million to $180 million.

The infrastructure upgrades in Fresno could support up to 862 mixed-income housing units, the news release stated. Dyer outlined a goal of 10,000 people living in Downtown, up from 3,000 people.

The state Legislature fully committed $250 million in the California budget to fund infrastructure projects in downtown Fresno and Chinatown. Dyer dedicated money to go to parking, an intermodal transportation hub — meaning various forms of transportation for public use — sewer lines, water lines, and improved sidewalks.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer’s breakdown of $250 million for downtown Fresno infrastructure. (Source: City of Fresno)

“Great cities have great downtowns and we are well on our way to having a great downtown,” Dyer said.

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.