Is downtown Fresno moving forward? What's next for the Central Valley's largest city?
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and city leaders talked about the future of downtown Tuesday morning at the annual State of Downtown breakfast.
One of the big focuses is the future of the Fulton Mall.
Empty streets provide undeniable evidence of downtown's struggles, struggles the mayor and others hope to move past with bold changes.
Opening up Fulton Mall to cars and taking better advantage of Fresno's resources were the focus of Tuesday's discussion.
Pedestrian mall expert, Henry Beer, gave the keynote address and emphasized the importance of making downtown a place people can gather, as well urging the city to move past the indecision that he believes prevents progress. "I think people here have been disappointed with what's going on and it vents itself as cynicism, which is a negative energy. But we heard this morning was extraordinary levels of positivism, and focus, and vision," said Beer.
Beer believes making it easier for cars to get downtown is crucial, and says Fresno needs to work to build a brand people can identify with.
Mayor Swearengin says building that brand will be a focus in her second term.
Beer also says Fresno's access to the outdoors and temperate climate set it apart from most other cities, and taking better advantage of those resources will go a long way towards helping downtown.