Sports Town, Downtown

February 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Many local merchants are struggling to stay afloat. They hope a plan to rejuvenate a portion of downtown Fresno can help. It's the area of Kern Street, between Van Ness and "M". The sound of a jackhammer filled Downtown Fresno as construction crews broke ground for the new "Sports Town on Kern Street." It's a walk way connecting Chukchansi Stadium to Selland Arena.

Deputy Mayor and current mayoral candidate Jeff Eben says the city hopes this $900-thousand dollar project will create more opportunities for families to visit Downtown Fresno, especially at night. "A place where you can come, bring families, have dinner, walk, enjoy the game, enjoy the ice rink, enjoy the falcons," said Deputy Mayor Jeff Eben, "...and also enjoy placards built into the concrete celebrating local sports legends featured along the path."

Former County Superintendent of School Pete Mehas said, "The children of this county will be able to walk along this walkway and say I too can be a Rayford Johnson. I too can be a Tim McDonnell. I too can be a Charlie Young. I too can be a Shelly Hamland."

Lee Lao, owner of Kern Street Coffee, is banking on this future foot traffic boosting business at his cafe. Lao recently reopened the store after the previous owner closed it due to poor business. "After it's all done I think it's gonna bring more business to me because they expand the route; make it look better," said Lao.

Drew Shilling usually walks along these streets during his lunch breaks and says he's looking forward to the finished project. "I hope it generates more interest, more developers to get down here and see if the city can really start to turn it around," said Shilling.

Construction of Sports Town On Kern Street is expected to be finished by April.


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