Improvements are Underway at Fresno's Train Depot

Fresno, CA, USA Fresno's renovated train depot was dedicated almost 3 years ago. It is surrounded by a host of other improvements and plans are underway to utilize the empty spaces inside it.

It has stood at the corner of Tulare and Santa Fe streets for the last one-hundred-twelve years. In the present it serves an ever growing number of rail travelers like Nita Ussery and her 89 year old mom Evelyn Uhlhorn. They think hanging onto this old building was a good idea. "Nita Ussery, frequent Amtrak passenger: It's long overdue, long overdue. And we ride the train quite a bit."

The depot is the centerpiece of the 2-point-2 acre site. The project's architect, Christopher Johnson calls it an important landmark for Fresno: "It's our heart, it's our center and we've got to take care of it and improve it all the time."

Rail passengers now enjoy an old but new place to start their Amtrak journeys. The rest of the location is under renovation as well. It now has modern landscaping, new walkways, and benches all around the historic depot. A round-about has replaced a tiny parking lot. It opened this week for passenger traffic, so did a bus and taxi lane.

A new shade canopy is nearly finished and there will be others says Christopher Johnson: "One more canopy here and others down by the parking lot. There's some half canopies that go down there."

With construction of the exterior work expected to be complete by the end of August, the city can turn its attention to the upper floor of this old historic building and a restaurant that wants to serve downtown Fresno customers in the lower one. "Paul Wiemiller, Director Fresno Public Works: On the ground floor we do have about 19-hundred square feet of space for perhaps an eating establishment that's available and we're talking to potential tenants."

To date close to 8 million dollars has been invested here. Money city and community supporters believe was a good investment: "Christopher Johnson: and we're seeing a tremendous upswing in Fresno's downtown now and it's really exciting and this is an important part of that."

The passengers we talked with all seemed happy to have 21st century amenities in parts of Fresno's downtown 19th century surroundings!


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