FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A stroll down the old mall isn't what it used to be. Construction work to remove the mall and restore the street to traffic like it was 50 years ago is underway. This week marks the halfway point in the reconstruction.
Some folks are pleased to see it.
"I liked the old Fulton Street. That was pretty nice. But that was a long, long time ago," said a pedestrian.
The work started in March and is now halfway done. Traffic is expected to be back on Fulton Street by May.
Fences block much of the construction work, but photographer Chris Geiger brought his federally licensed drone to give us a boost.
"We will be able to see something we can't see right now. Behind us, we see the green fencing, but with an aerial camera we can look up over that and see what's happening."
What's happening is a lot of work. We asked Randall Morrison, project manager for the city of Fresno, how things are going.
"They are going good. We have work progressing on the entire stretch of the project."
In addition to taking up the concrete mall and restoring the street, crews are rebuilding some of the key artistic features, like the fountain at Tuolumne stReet.
"It's a complete reconstruction of the original fountain. It has the old bizet and clay pipes tied in with the fountain, so those are the art pieces that make it special," said Morrison.
But not everyone we ran into on the mall is happy with the project.
"You know, I think it would have been nice to remain the way it is. I kind of like walking the mall, having the freedom of no cars," said one Fresno resident.
While the mall will give way to a street and cars, Morrison said the pedestrian feel will be maintained
"So we are going to have a lot more trees, a lot of shady areas, with the wide sidewalk, 28-foot sidewalk on this side, 14-foot on the other side."
The goal of the $20-million project is to bring business back downtown.
Occupancy in the old high rise buildings is expected to rise, once traffic and parking are restored.
A big concern is the fate of the artwork, sculpture, and fountains. We are told all will be returned, and most will be in place when the street is reopened, but some pieces may remain at a studio in Los Angeles until they are fully restored.