|Fresno County, CA||November 7, 2000 Election|
Downtown and Neighborhoods
By Daniel K. WhitehurstCandidate for Mayor; City of Fresno
This information is provided by the candidate
Housing, Neighborhoods, Raising Property ValuesDOWNTOWN AND NEIGHBORHOODS
The vitality of our downtown is critical to the economic strength and quality of life of our community. A city is often judged by its central area, and on that score we don't do well at this point. However, I see great potential for our downtown and will devote time, effort and city resources to making it attractive for investors, business operators, visitors and local families--as a place to live, work, shop and be entertained. The revitalization of downtown Fresno will advance our economic development and growth management efforts, as well as add to the quality of life.
If the City hasn't already figured out how to do a baseball/multi-purpose stadium by the time the new mayor takes office, I'd be delighted to take on that challenge. It shouldn't take seven years for a city our size to put a Triple-A ballpark together. Downtown stadiums have been successful in a number of cities our size. I would want to make sure that the facility is big enough and of high enough quality to meet the community's needs and that the City's financial commitment is proportionate to the community benefit.
Fulton Mall was a bold experiment that worked for a short time and then fell behind the marketplace. Some people don't much care if Fulton Mall succeeds. I do. And the key will be to find private investors, developers and businesses who can find ways to make the Mall attractive to consumers. There are many examples around the country that we can look to. I would be open to reopening the mall to limited auto traffic and making other changes in the Mall to make it competitive.
I believe there is a market for people who want to live in the downtown area, provided there are neighborhood amenities available. Currently our zoning laws prohibit the use of many downtown structures for housing. In other cities live/work lofts and central city apartments are popular particularly with young adults, artists and small business owners. We can easily make the ordinance changes to open up the downtown area for housing.
When I served as Mayor in the 70's and 80's, we made neighborhoods a top priority. Neighborhood councils reviewed the city budget and made recommendations for their areas. We held annual Block Party Weekends, where hundreds of block groups got together for a social event. This fed into a city-wide organizing effort of 2000 neighborhood watch groups. We reorganized the Police Department to implement community based policing, dividing the city into policing areas so officers could take responsibility for specific neighborhoods.
Raising Property Values
If I am elected Mayor, we will make the same kind of effort in the neighborhoods, this time focusing on raising property values and quality of life. The city can help boost property values by keeping streets and other infrastructure in good shape, removing graffiti and trash, enforcing codes and solving problems promptly. Our infill strategy will also provide new investment in older neighborhoods and we will work with the schools to provide more activities for kids after school.
Parks and Improvements
There are also areas, particularly areas that were originally developed in the county and then annexed to the city, that need parks and other amenities. We will look for ways to finance the installation of these features.
Position Paper 3
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