FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The Fulton Mall will soon get a big makeover. Thursday, leaders will break ground on opening Fulton Street to cars again. A sight that hasn't been seen in more than 60 years.
It's an ordinary day along the Fulton Mall, but in a few weeks, the signs of change will be here as construction crews start work on opening up the Fulton Mall. "For all of the pedestrian malls that have been built in this country since the early 60's, and Fresno is one of 200, 90% of them realize, while it was a nice idea, it wasn't right for the downtown area," said Mark Standriff, Fresno Communications Director.
The plan to tear out the 60-year-old pedestrian mall and return traffic to Fulton Street will break ground Thursday. In a few weeks, crews will begin taking down trees and bushes along Fulton and look at the electrical system. The next big step will be to remove the artwork, some of which has been there since the 1960s, like the Clocktower. "All of the artwork is going to be removed, restored, curated, and then replaced once the project is completed," said Standriff.
In about a month, work will begin on the south end toward Inyo Street and work its way in phases. Businesses along the mall-- like Tres Hermanos-- will remain open. "We're letting our customers know we're going to be open. We know there is going to be construction, but go ahead and come. Don't think we are going to be closed," said Wendy Lira, Tres Hermanos.
Meanwhile, over at Parsley Café, employees are looking forward to the future and a flow of customers. "Other people will come by and discover Fresno, and that's a good sign. Maybe they'll stop by to say hi or just stay," said Joey Macias, Fresno.
City leaders said the revitalization is already sparking new investment from new businesses. Hotel Fresno was recently purchased.
Most of the 20 million dollar project will be paid for with a 16 million dollar federal grant.
The Fulton Mall is expected to open to the public, and cars, in spring of 2017.