Fresno residents call for more funding for parks, community centers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The city of Fresno faces a $39 million budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But during Tuesday's virtual city budget hearing, dozens of people voiced their support for increased funding for the PARCS Department.

People who enjoy city parks told council members the outdoor spaces and community centers need more funding and attention - not less.

Some demanded more areas to play soccer or to just exercise in all areas of the city.

"This also speaks to the lack of park access we have in the city which is why I am calling to advocate to re-allocate funding from the police and re-allocate it towards parks.," said participant Edgar Reyna.

With the city looking for ways to cut spending, supporters said parks are important to the environment as well as the well-being of kids. Many people had wish lists.

Another resident, Sher Moua, asked for "parks that have things like toddler parks for 2-3-year-olds so they can play without fear and not slipping through guard rails and being pulled over by older kids."

The City Council will consider spending $90,000 for an environmental analysis to apply for a Proposition 68 grant to build a new park in southeast Fresno.

PARCS Department Director T.J. Miller wants to be able to staff all of the city parks.

"Not just staff that are responsible for maintaining restrooms but staff that are there for customer service. Staff that are there greeting folks when they get to the park and interacting with them," said Parks Dept. Director T.J. Miller.

The Fresno City Council will make their final budget decisions June 25th.
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