Al Allen was a friend of mine.
He was a quiet man, committed to the revitalization of downtown, until cancer took him early. The Downtown Fresno Partnership named an award after Al that was presented to me by Mayor Ashley Swearengin at the State of Downtown event in the beautiful Pacific Southwest building.
It was a shocker. I was left with nothing of substance to say and a little emotional over thoughts of Al tinkering with his buildings on the Fulton Mall.
Al and I served on the Property-Based Improvement District board together. Our shared philosophy was how revitalized downtowns contribute to the image and growth of great cities. Downtown Revitalization was a hobby we had in common.
Over the past six years, our city core has experienced a resurgence that defies gravity. With the mayor’s leadership, our council majority now supports the return of traffic on the mall. It’s a monumental step in the right direction. When combined with changes in municipal code and the pioneering spirit of local entrepreneurs, it will pay huge dividends lasting decades into the future.
Al would be proud.