City leaders working to clean up Camp Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno city leaders are taking action together to clean up Camp Fresno so it can re-open later this month.

The campground is located 13 miles from Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest.

It was once a popular summertime destination known for camping and fishing, but it has been closed for two years.

Now it's getting a facelift - and a new purpose with the plan of welcoming back visitors this Summer.

"There's a combination of work being done by professionals and a lot of work being done by city crews that are going to be combined with our volunteer effort that we're really pushing for," said Fresno Deputy Mayor Matthew Grundy.

Fresno City Leaders don't just want to reopen the once-neglected summer camp -- the goal is to expand its purpose to include special retreat opportunities for young adults.

Mayor Jerry Dyer requested a June 16 reopening and would like to send 2,000 teenagers this summer for three-night sessions.

"We want to give our youth an opportunity and experience that perhaps they've never experienced. There are many youth in the City of Fresno that have never been to the mountains, let alone a camp retreat like this," said Grundy.

Officials believe Camp Fresno is a hidden gem that can provide an inspiring new experience in nature for young people.

"We want to invite perhaps the youth that have made some tough choices so far or maybe going down the wrong path. We want them to have experience and exposure to Camp Fresno. We want to open this up so perhaps they can see life differently and go back down the hill changed and different from the way they came up," said Grundy.

Preparations to get the campgrounds livable again started months ago but a lot of work is still needed to get it ready for the reopening.

Camp Fresno sits on 38 acres with more than 70 structures -- many of them around 100 years old.

"I'm just really excited that the place has got some energy being pumped into it and you can feel it coming alive again," said Camp Fresno manager Brian Stiles.

Officials say it'll cost about a million dollars to get Camp Fresno back up and running.

"We're working with the state and Assemblymember Patterson and some others to try and figure out if we can secure some state funding. We're also working with folks locally and privately and hopefully at some point, we'll have a little bit of Measure P dollars to help because technically this is a city-run park," said Grundy.

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