Business owners make effort to revitalize the Tower District

FRESNO, Calif.

About 65 business owners have joined together in the Tower District. The storefronts offer everything from a wine bar, to a succulent shop.

Business owners say the area is the Valleys best kept secret, but they don't want it to be a secret anymore. The Tower District provides a mix of business, art, and restaurants these business owners say is novel and unique.

"We really want the word to get out there and we want people to see what we're doing. We've got some great businesses there. Lots of new ones but lots of old ones that have been there 75 plus years," Freebird company owner Linda Whisenant said.

Tuesday morning members of the Tower District business network were acknowledged at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting for their grassroots effort to bring more foot traffic to the area. They want visitors to see why the Tower District is worth discovering or rediscovering.

"We are not a rich community but we are rich in community. We all look out for each other. Most of the business owners actually live in the tower. We live there, work there, eat there. We hardly leave unless we have to because we love it so much," Whisenant said.

But, even as new storefronts sprout up offering new experiences, existing business owners say some valley residents are still skeptical about venturing out to the tower district. Police chief jerry dyer says overall crime is low in this area. Property crimes are the biggest problem and police are addressing these issues.

"We have recently placed three video policing cameras in the tower district itself that we are monitoring and have the ability to monitor. Second is we have had periodic dedicated patrols in the tower district," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

The chief is also exploring the idea of opening up a small substation in the area to make sure visitors feel safe. Business owners hope attracting good guests will also deter those vandals who cost owners money instead of helping them prosper.

This Friday night business owners are having a kickoff celebration. The community is invited to Zen Wok Fusion restaurant. Starting at 6 p.m. they can hear about what's new in the Tower District and also enjoy some art and listen to music.

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