Work has started to spruce up Granite Park in the first phase of a $2.7 million renovation of the east-central Fresno sports facility.
Underground utility work and fresh coats of paint on the existing home run fences and other field markers started a month and a half ago, said developer Terance Frazier.
“There was a lot more damage out there than we thought,” but the repairs are being made quickly, Frazier said. Phase one is about bringing back the fields and getting people back playing in the park, he said.
“I really believe we’ll have people playing on the fields this year,” Frazier said. “That’s been my promise.”
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About a year ago, Frazier and partner TJ Cox pitched the city of Fresno a plan to revive the controversial complex on Cedar Avenue about a mile south of Fresno State.
The pair, representing the nonprofit Central Valley Community Sports Foundation, will renovate the existing three fields and add a fourth full-sized professional field for older players with press box and covered stadium seats. They will build a new restaurant and structures to shade other sports activities, including basketball and volleyball.
The city, which owns the property, approved a 25-year lease and service agreement with the foundation. It will pay the foundation $150,000 a year for 10 years to help with programming, staffing and maintenance. It’s a modest investment. More than a decade ago, the city co-signed the park’s $5 million bank loan and the developer went belly up, leaving the park empty for years.
This time around, Frazier and Cox will personally guarantee any loans and the first chunk of investment money involves no public funds.
Construction of the new restaurant and courts for the other sports will begin next year in phase two of the project, Frazier said.