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City of Fresno

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

About a quarter of the nation’s homeless population live in California with most of them concentrated in the state’s larger cities, including Fresno. Governor Brown has responded in his latest budget by including $500 million in grants for cities to address homelessness. Fresno Mayor Lee Brand went to Sacramento to lobby in support of this funding. Despite years of work on the problem, the city’s homeless population is still significant. Some have said in recent times that Fresno has spent too much time and efforts criminalizing homelessness, referencing the so-called camping ban.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno mayor announced a sales tax initiative he will propose to the City Council on Thursday. The proposal could end up competing with another measure that’s vying for a spot on the November ballot.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand wants to raise money for public safety and parks. He’s proposing a half-cent sales tax. If approved by the city council and voters, it could raise up to fifty million dollars a year for the next 15 years.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted 5-1 today to put a tax on marijuana dispensaries and related business before voters this November.

The tax proposal comes at the same time that the city is studying a change to zoning laws to allow a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he’d like to use some of the money from the tax to step up the city’s enforcement of illegal marijuana dispensaries, other drug dealers and human traffickers.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Think for a moment about neighborhoods in Fresno. Maybe you thought of the Tower District, or Fig Garden? Or perhaps it was Woodward Park or Sunnyside. What about the area west of Highway 99, between Clinton, Herndon and Grantland Avenues. Today it’s a checkerboard mix of subdivisions, rural homes, and farmland. And getting across Highway 99 to the rest of Fresno, and over the railroad, and Golden State Boulevard is a traffic nightmare. Now, the city is starting a new effort that aims to solve some big problems for area residents.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Four of Fresno’s city council seats are up for re-election this year. While these are technically non-partisan races, many city issues are often decided along party lines. The stakes are even higher in one particular district that's currently held by a conservative, and is a district where voters in the last presidential election supported Hillary Clinton. Valley Public Radio’s Laura Tsutsui reports, the candidate who wins this seat could end up deciding the future of city politics.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno has long relied on groundwater to meet its needs, but a new surface water treatment plant is slated to begin operating this summer. While the city faced complications with their last treatment plant, they’re hoping the lessons learned help solve problems before they start.

Fresno’s new Southeast Surface Water Treatment Plant is huge, and built to do one thing: Treat water from the Kings River, and send it out to Fresno residents.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The City of Fresno passed a Parks Master Plan in January. The plan outlines the city’s goals to maintain and improve existing parks, and add more to the system. But over the years, the city’s parks budget has decreased. A new coalition hopes their efforts will put new life into parks, with a tax.

 

Google Earth

The Fresno City Council has approved a tax incentive deal with retailer Gap Inc. that would move the company’s e-commerce fulfilment center to Fresno.  City officials say the deal could result in as many as 500 new jobs.

The thirty year deal rebates the company $15,000 for every full-time job it creates, once it hits the 500 job threshold. The money would come from sales tax collected on items purchased from the facility, which would be housed in Gap’s existing warehouses near Fresno Yosemite international. It could be worth as much as $10 million.

Community Water Center

More than 300 California communities lack access to clean drinking water. A disproportionately high number of those communities lie in the San Joaquin Valley, as we reported in our 2017 series Contaminated. Last fall, a bill with a proposed solution passed the state senate but has since remained in limbo, receiving both broad support and opposition—even in the San Joaquin Valley.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council is dealing with a good problem, an $8.6 million windfall. The council voted Thursday to spend the net balance of the funds - $5.8 million - on a variety of items, from repairs at parks and city owned parking garages to body cameras for police officers. It also includes $1.3 million for a down payment on a planned headquarters building for the fire department. The funding came from carryover items from the last budget year, as well as higher than anticipated hotel and sales tax revenues. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Fresno is California’s largest city without a light rail system. With the city’s sprawling nature and ample parking lots, efforts to bring rapid transit to the area have never taken off. One other reason – light rail is really expensive. Now, Fresno officials hope to bring some of the elements of those commuter trains to the city’s bus system at a much more affordable price tag. It’s a concept that around the world is called bus rapid transit – or light rail on wheels. We looked at the latest addition to Fresno Area Express service by talking to the people who use it.

Google Maps

The City of Fresno has reached a tentative agreement with an outside group that could result in a new park on city-owned property in southeast Fresno. FM89’s Joe Moore reports the partnership could resolve an issue that has concerned city officials and residents for over a decade.

City of Fresno - WRT

The City of Fresno has adopted a new parks master plan. On Thursday, the city council unanimously approved the document, which took over a year to develop. It’s the first time in decades the city has come up with a comprehensive plan for its parks infrastructure. The city says it needs 1,100 acres of new green space in the city, much of it south of Shaw Avenue.

CIty of Fresno

This Thursday the Fresno City Council will vote on a proposal for a major new industrial development in south Fresno. Covering 110 acres at Central and Cedar Avenues, the development would allow up to 2,000,000 square feet of new construction for heavy industry. However, developer Richard Caglia is likely to target a very specific type of tenant for the project – warehouse operations known as distribution or fulfillment centers.

http://www.garrybredefeld.com/

Last week the Fresno City Council approved a resolution kicking off the process of amending zoning laws to allow a variety of medical marijuana related businesses to operate in the city. The unanimous vote capped off a tense council meeting over the original proposal, which would have also allowed commercial marijuana businesses in the city, though stopping short of recreational use dispensaries. 

Clint Olivier

The Fresno City Council will vote Thursday on a proposal that would set the city on a path to legalizing a variety of marijuana-related businesses.  This comes just months after the council voted to ban commercial marijuana dispensaries and other businesses. If approved, the new policy would mark a significant reversal of course on an issue that has divided city leaders for most of the last year.

Today on Valley Edition we hear a report about changes looming in Fresno's historic Chinatown neighborhood. Many roads in the area are already closed with construction on high-speed rail, and that's causing some concern among business owners. Yet others are optimistic about a brighter future ahead, with new community improvements, millions in cap-and-trade funding, new housing, and the future rail station. We also hear a report about the role the U.S. military has played in researching valley fever, much of which has taken place at Lemoore Naval Air Station.

Google Earth - KVPR

UPDATE 12/7/17: The Fresno City Council voted 7-0 to approve the sale of the lot and Inyo and M for the planned hotel development. 

A long-vacant dirt lot next to the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall could soon become a 200 room hotel, under a deal that is scheduled to go before the city council next Thursday. The agreement would involve the city selling the three-quarter acre lot at Inyo and "M" Streets to Metro Hospitality Services for  $644,000.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Yosemite International Airport will soon have a new route, with non-stop service to one of the nation’s busiest airports. Valley Public Radio’s Laura Tsutsui reports.

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