Fresno Mayor Swearengin updates downtown revitalization efforts

FRESNO, Calif.

The mayor was also encouraged by the creation of a property-based improvement district (PBID).

Mayor Swearengin told a crowd of about 500 local leaders investment was needed downtown because it is Fresno's calling card. The mayor also picked an interesting analogy to describe one of the city's biggest challenges.

Swearengin said, "I'm really sorry that you're going to leave here with the idea downtown is an oozing, open sore."

Mayor Swearengin clearly had the breakfast crowd's attention but went on to explain. "It's clotted. It's scabbed over. It's getting better."

The mayor sees construction on Fulton Village as proof downtown's health is improving.

The new Tioga-Sequoia Brewery benefitted from Swearengin's push to streamline the city's review process to attract more business.

Swearengin told the brewery's marketing director Michael Cruz, "I have some good news for you. Your sign has been approved."

Brewmaster Kevin Cox waited a year to hear those words. An 8-foot sign outside his brewery will be clearly visible to fans at Chukchansi Park. Cox said, "Downtown's always been a tough place a tough place, everyone says but you know, this is the heart of Fresno and if you want to be Fresno and represent yourself as Fresno's beer this is the place you want to make it."

The brewery will produce the brands Sherman IPA, Peak pilsner and Tamarack amber lager but this won't be a public bar.

Cox has moved the brewhouse from San Jose. He explained, "I have faith. I think our future's here and our growth is here."

Cox was encouraged to hear a new downtown club, Fulton 55, will soon open. The old Hero's sports bar is also set to re-open next month.

Swearengin said, "We're going to do eventually what people said for the last four decades couldn't be done. We will see downtown Fresno re-birthed and established as a thriving cultural arts, entertainment and commercial business center we all knew it has the potential to become."

In a taped message Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett spoke of the need of investing in downtown like OKC has to attract young, educated professionals.

Mayor Swearengin added Governor Jerry Brown's plan to eliminate redevelopment agency funds would be devastating.

On Wednesday the mayor will meet with the governor in Sacramento to discuss the issue.

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