Frustrated business owners say Fresno's Chinatown left out of revitalization

Friday, May 19, 2017
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While Fulton Mall gets an overhaul, high-speed rail construction will close a major road to Chinatown for two years, and business owners say that's just the first of a long list of problems plaguing the area.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Business owners in Fresno's Chinatown say when it comes to homelessness, they're fed up.

In most cities, Chinatown is a source of pride and culture, but in Fresno, it's a source of concern.

"Who is supposed to take action or redevelop this area," said a business owner who did not want to be identified.

The owner says vandalism, theft and blatant drug use is rampant along these streets.

"It's really frustrating when you come to your office or your business and you find human feces on the ground in front of your door," the said.

At the city council meeting Thursday, almost a dozen business owners voiced their pent-up frustrations. The owners pointing out the fact that Downtown is undergoing revitalization, but just down the street, Chinatown is an eyesore.

And they're also saying that starting in June, high-speed rail construction will close down access to four businesses on Tulare Street for two years.

The local business owners here say they feel neglected by the city from issues like blight all the way to homelessness.

"They're right," council member Oliver Baines III said. "I am with them in their frustration at the entire system, at the way we are responding, society's responding and lack of response to the homeless issue."

Baines says when it comes to safety, that's a city issue and he plans to coordinate with law enforcement. But Baines says the county gets all the resources to help the needy, so it's a conversation that has to involve county partners.

And not everyone is convinced it will be so easy.

"Any council member or politician who brings forward a comprehensive plan to end vagrancy and to get them away from our businesses and our neighborhoods are going to be absolutely attacked," council member Clint Olivier explained.

The group plans to bring their issues to the board of supervisors next.