Fresno City Council deciding the future of three public parks

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The future of three public parks in Fresno will be decided by the city council this week. (KFSN)

The future of three public parks in Fresno will be decided by the city council this week.

A place in Downtown Fresno is the site of the proposed Downtown Cultural Arts Park. It's about an acre, and will provide some green space for the residents of all the new housing being built.

The park in Fresno's Downtown Cultural Arts District will cost about a million dollars to build. The city council will consider funding it this week. The council will also consider spending about $350,000 to add a splash park to Vinland Park.

They are also being asked to accept the tiny Habitat for Humanity Park into the city. City Communications Director Mark Standriff said these are all steps forward in developing greenspace. "This is a pretty big day when we can add a park, we can renovate an established park, an older park in an older neighborhood, and build a brand new park-- it's cause to celebrate."

The city has been under fire from activists who have accused the city of having less green space per-person than most cities, and of neglecting older parts of town. Sher Moua, of the group Building Healthy Communities, said the city still needs to develop an overall plan for park improvements and developments. "We feel like the city should be taking a comprehensive approach to parks in South Fresno, and that's represented through the parks master plan."

The city is looking at bids from consultants to develop such a plan. City cOuncil Member Lee Brand acknowledges the city has lagged in developing parks but said things are changing. "And I think there's state and federal grants out there for trails and parks we can take advantage of, and also dedicate more general fund money to that area that is needed across the entire city."

Critics said adding any park space is good, "But they could be doing more," said Moua.

State grants paid for most of the Downtown Cultural Arts Park. The city is also counting on public-private partnerships to help maintain the Downtown Cultural Arts Park and others.

Maintenance of existing city parks is also an issue. Critics say the city needs to do more to make them clean and safe.

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