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City of Fresno

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February.

That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe.

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After a nearly seven hour-long meeting, the board of the San Joaquin River Conservancy has delayed making a decision on where the public will have vehicle access to the River West open space area.

Over 100 people packed Fresno City Hall Wednesday voicing their concerns on whether a street and parking lot should access the property through a commercial development at Palm and Nees, or from a residential neighborhood via city-owned Riverview Drive, which currently ends at the top of the bluff.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Just as Fresno’s downtown and southwest areas are preparing for makeovers, so is its transportation system. The city announced last month that it plans to restructure its bus system for the first time in decades—with public input. But there are bound to be limitations—and some community members are concerned.

Dave Alcanzar lives in central Fresno. He’s in his 70s and in a wheelchair, and he relies on Fresno Area Express, or FAX, to get everywhere.

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence of events will be the tipping point toward growth and revitalization.

For 53 years downtown Fresno's main street was a car-free zone. But after a year and a half of construction, the six-block long Fulton Mall has been removed, and replaced by Fulton Street. Backers hope the project will kick off a wave of investment and revitalization in the area. But critics abound, with some saying it won't work, and others saying it will displace existing businesses and residents, and will set off a wave of gentrification. Others still say despite the new streetscape, nothing really will change.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Police officers across the country and in the Central Valley have been under increasing scrutiny and pressure for how they deal with civilians in the field. At the same time, some departments are acknowledging that their role is morphing into one that is just as concerned with identifying and helping people who might be suffering from a mental illness as it is enforcing the law. Fresno’s Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he is making changes within his force in an attempt to separate committed criminals from people who need a softer form of help.

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