Surprising results in Downtown Fresno property tax study

September 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
You might figure the old buildings in Downtown Fresno are a drag on the city economy but a new study suggests just the opposite.

Joseph Minicozzi said, "These buildings that are along Fulton Plaza that were built a hundred years ago are still contributing tax revenue to your community; those were left as a legacy by your great grandparents."

Minicozzi is an urban planning researcher. His study commissioned by the Sacramento based Local Government Commission says the old buildings are a more efficient source of city revenues that sprawling shopping centers like River Park.

For example, he claims River Park generates about $8,000 per acre in property taxes, while Downtown Fresno generates more than $12,000 per acre.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is embracing the study. "So what Joe's report shows is that from a city perspective even the very limited commercial and residential activity in our downtown today it already outpaces the property value of any other part of the city, so there is a huge advantage and benefit to really trying to support this type of growth for the city of Fresno."

Swearengin is joining Clovis Mayor Lynne Ashbeck in presenting the study to the public.

"We are as committed to the success of Downtown Fresno as anyone, because we know, as they go so goes Clovis and the rest of the Valley." Ashbeck said.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin has been working to improve Downtown Fresno. She says you don't have to look any further than Downtown Clovis to see a model for success. "Clovis is an inspiration to the city of Fresno." She said.

The study also shows downtowns in Merced, and Visalia also outpace their shopping malls in property tax revenues.

Ashbeck says it took 30 years for Downtown Clovis to look as it does now, and Swearengin says reviving Downtown Fresno is also going to be a long term process. She believes it will start with restoring traffic to the Fulton Mall, and hopes this study will bolster her case with a city council that often seems skeptical about revitalizing downtown.


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