Hundreds celebrated Mexico's independence in Downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

The Fulton Mall was packed, a stark contrast to what it's like here most other nights. But city leaders and business owners hope momentum is building with these big events serving as a jumpstart to a more vibrant downtown.

A sea of hundreds holding Mexican flags screamed in celebration. Some say Downtown Fresno was simply the place to be.

"We love it, we enjoy it. And for what it's worth we love it here." said Sanger resident Jaime Castel.

Castel and his family drove from the south valley to enjoy the festivities. Event organizers are hoping big productions like this one will spark interest in the Fulton Mall year round.

Jan Minami is the Executive Director of the Downtown Association of Fresno. "They should get a feel for what downtown is because it's worth coming back." said Minami.

Minami is working on new plans including increased marketing and expanding their outreach programs. "So we're taking steps in the right direction to have a stronger public campaign to being people downtown." Minami added.

Business owners are also optimistic. Shaved ice vendor Fernando Luna would like to help sweeten the downtown economy but says the city needs to do its part too.

"I would like to see it a little more cleaned up, a little nicer that would be nice. Definitely get some more people out here." said Luna.

But for now it's all about celebrating Mexico's independence and despite discussion of making drastic changes to the Fulton Mall. Owners and organizers we spoke with say they still see plenty of potential.

"I'd hate for them to ever have to take this away from us. I think it's a great opportunity for everybody to come out. And vendors to sell it's definitely a good place make money, a lot of people sell out here." added Luna.

The public will have an opportunity to put their input into the future of the Fulton Mall. The Downtown Association is holding a meeting later this month to discuss plans on how to make the area more appealing.

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