Facing eventual dislocation by California’s high-speed rail project, the Fresno Rescue Mission has begun construction on a new, but temporary, $6 million facility on G Street to house its services for the homeless.
The mission’s main facilities – a 33,000-square-foot building that houses its administrative offices, chapel, men’s dormitory, kitchen, dining room and classrooms – are on the east side of G Street south of Ventura Street. And it’s in the path of the rail route identified through downtown Fresno by the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Earthmoving equipment is at work across the street and to the south on a new complex of six buildings that will provide an interim home for the rescue mission’s services for about three to five years, mission CEO Don Eskes said. The modular buildings will be complete and the mission relocated by the end of this year, he added.
“As we have worked with high-speed rail, the city of Fresno and all the other agencies involved, we are committed to at no time having any of our services or programs disrupted,” Eskes said. “Even though the land footprint of the Fresno Rescue Mission will be somewhat smaller as we lose our main building, we believe we will be able to accommodate all our needs.”
Our goal and our commitment is not to interrupt our services at any given time.
Fresno Rescue Mission CEO Don Eskes
Eskes said the organization is involved in the long-range planning and design for a permanent site nearby in the area, but declined to identify the site or how much it will cost. “We are discussing that with high-speed rail, and our expectation is that will be funded by (the) California High-Speed Rail (Authority),” he said. “All we’re asking is that what is taken is replaced.”
Eskes said the mission has maintained a positive relationship with the rail authority and the city. “We are committed to working with them, for them to get what they need as well as for us to continue to get what we need to carry on our ministry,” he said.
The high-speed rail project is also having an effect on the rescue mission’s Rescue the Children shelter for women and children near Clinton Avenue and Highway 99. That’s where Caltrans is rebuilding the Clinton Avenue overpass as part of its work to relocate a portion of the freeway to make room for the high-speed train tracks.
“That’s a nine-acre campus, and the city took one acre to build a street through because of the closure of Parkway Drive,” Eskes said. “We’re negotiating about getting some land back because that’s where we were going to build a warehouse.” A new entry to the property is also needed because of the Parkway Drive closure.