Revitalization efforts don’t happen overnight.
They can slog on at a snails pace for decades, making any relative progress hard to track.
Such is the case in downtown Fresno, where there has been concerted push toward revitalization since the early 2000s, at least. It’s the reason we have a baseball stadium and that lovely stretch of Kern Street near the Fresno Convention Center.
The Cultural Arts/Mural District in particular has seen a massive reformation in recent years, with the addition of hundreds of residential units, plus new commercial and retails spaces. What is now becoming an actual community – with its own neighborhood park, multiple coffee shops and art and music spaces – was once the land of derelict warehouses and abandoned hotels (legendary skateboarding site notwithstanding).
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Those who have lived in the area for any amount of time may understand how radical that change has been. For everyone else, there’s the archive feature on Google maps, which is being used to created before-and-after pictures of the area. Several of the images have popped up recently on the For the Love of Downtown Facebook page and show just how much process has been made. In one, you can see a boarded up Theatre 3 building sitting between two lots of dirt. The picture is contrasted by its current street view, in which the theater building is completely rehabbed (it’s been home to JSA for the last year) and surrounded by loft apartments.
Another shows local students holding hands while crossing Fulton street on the way to the community park. That park used to be a nondescript building on a nondescript stretch of Fulton.