New police substations in Fresno are on hold

FRESNO, Calif.

The stations were proposed at the intersection of Clinton and Weber in central Fresno and the other was proposed for an area near Belmont and Dewitt in southeast Fresno.

The city council learned the city does not have the money to move the projects forward. And Fresno's police chief says they may not be needed.

Three years ago the city decided it could spend $17 million putting a police substation here in central Fresno and another one across town in southeast Fresno. But now, the city says, the money just isn't' there.

The substation at Clinton and Weber was supposed to be the key to bring other businesses into this area. But, Assistant City Manager Bruce Rudd told the city council the city can no longer afford to build it.

"The fiscal reality is that at a time when we are looking at reducing services laying off employees and other painful decisions this council is going to have to make it does not seem prudent for us to go further in debt constructing a new facility."

The owner of the Dicicco's restaurant across the street from the Clinton and Weber site was upset.

"I was all excited that this was going in so I'm spending my money right now remodeling my place getting ready, and now I hear this might not possibly go in, I'm against that not happening." Domenico Santeufemia said.

But, even Police Chief Jerry Dyer said he was already considering other, less expensive ideas. "The potential option would be to have smaller satellite facilities in each of the districts." Dyer said.

But the chief acknowledges there is no money for smaller stations right now either.

The proposed substation site in southeast Fresno generated a huge controversy. Hmong farmers who had been growing crops on the site were forced to relocate, to make way for the station, which now is not expected to be built. Developers of both sites are urging the city to reconsider.

Mehmet Noyan said, "We would be happy to build it for the city, a lease or lease back, you've got great numbers great inflation is coming, rates are going up and we're missing an opportunity."

Even though the bids on the projects expired last week, meaning they are technically dead, developers indicated a willingness to keep working with the city. City council member Blong Xiong persuaded the council to delay a vote, accepting that fate.

"I would like before this council made a decision give me an opportunity to meet with the developer and the business community and the staff to look at all options." Blong Xiong said.

Chief Dyer and the administration indicated there may be no real options to salvage the projects. The chief says he doesn't want to pay for new buildings when he can't afford to keep officers on the street.

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