Demand for more park space in Fresno continues

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A 48 acre parcel of unused land off of Peach Avenue, South of Sunnyside High School was given to the city of Fresno by the Federal Government a decade ago. And community activists say it's time the city put it to use. (KFSN)

A 48 acre parcel of unused land off of Peach Avenue, South of Sunnyside High School was given to the city of Fresno by the Federal Government a decade ago. And community activists say it's time the city put it to use.

"That land has gone to waste," said Pastor Juan Saavara. "The buildings on it are a travesty."

Pastor Juan Saavara believes the former US Department of Agriculture station would make a great regional park, with soccer fields for an unserved area of the city. Jose Barraza of the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Corporation believes the city has been dragging its feet on park development.

Barraza explained, "Listen, we waited long enough and we want action now on the construction of more parks."

The argument is in line with community groups who have been rallying to equalize the amount of park space between the northern and southern parts of the city. City Council Member Lee Brand agreed more parks are needed, but noted the city has just come through tough financial times.

Brand added, "With Woodward Park, Roeding Park, all over the city we are struggling just to keep these existing parks going."

But Barraza is among those who think the city needs to place a higher priority on parks.

"Let's spread the benefit of the resources of out city and lets include parks as a higher priority," Barraza said.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin's new budget proposes spending close to $6 million on park maintenance and improvements. Advocates for more parks believe it is not nearly enough, pointing out the money proposed for parks is only 1 percent of the city's budget.



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