Inside Fresno's new Mexican Consulate

FRESNO, Calif.

The new offices are located on Ingram, just north of Herndon Avenue. Though the move north from Downtown Fresno received some criticism -- some clients we spoke with feel the new location is a big improvement.

The difference is evident from the moment you arrive at the new Mexican Consulate -- from a large, free parking lot outside, to a huge waiting area inside.

Reyna Torres Mendivil said, "The Hispanic community in general and the Mexican community specifically has grown tremendously in the last years, so that space was not enough anymore."

Finding a larger space was key -- when their 10-year lease ran out at the consulate's previous location in Downtown Fresno.

Gone are the long lines that had become the daily norm at the old facility. The new location on Ingram Avenue just north of Herndon is twice as large -- over 18-thousand square feet of new, modern offices.

Mendivil said, "We have new cameras for example, new packs for their fingers prints."

Updated equipment, a larger staff and additional meeting space to service the 1.5 million Mexican nationals living in the Central Valley.

"It's twice as large, it's very well located," said Mendivil. "People can come either with public transportation or using the highway system."

Downtown Community Revitalization Manager Craig Scharton was critical of the move north earlier this year. "We tried to reason with the consulate and say this is the best place to serve your constituents and for some reason, I think they want a more prestigious address."

Consul Torres Mendivil says the consulate still plans to hold events downtown -- but the new location was available at the right time... and will allow them to expand services... and add more -- like a community meeting room that will also serve as an arts and culture room.

Mendivil said, "I love the idea and I keep repeating it, of a family that can come in for their consular ID's and step into our gallery and look at an exhibit perhaps from their hometown."

Response from the public has been positive.

"I definitely think this place is better than the other one," says Fresno resident Patricia Ordaz. "It represents our nation and our people in a more dignified way"

Consul Torres Mendivil says they will always be big supporters of Downtown Fresno -- this Friday, the consulate is hosting a free rock concert at Fulton 55.

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