How city leaders are helping 'forgotten Fresno'

City crews have already started trimming trees, removing graffiti, and repairing potholes in Fresno's North Avenue neighborhood.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As commercial and residential neighborhoods moved towards north Fresno over the years, the city's southwest residents have felt neglected and left behind.

During the 20th century, the city restricted people of color to the west side of town through redlining.

"As a result of that, what you ended up with is concentrated poverty within an area," said Mayor Jerry Dyer of Fresno. "Oftentimes, people who live in those neighborhoods feel forgotten."
Dyer is taking the lead on changing that and cleaning up the years of racial injustice.

He and councilmember Miguel Arias announced a second Beautify Fresno 'neighborhood blitz' on Thursday which will focus on revitalizing the North Avenue neighborhood.

"This is our way of showing that we love this neighborhood, we love this area, we love the people that live here," said Mayor Dyer.

City crews have already started trimming trees, removing graffiti, and repairing potholes. On Saturday, more than 100 volunteers plan to join the cleanup effort.

"We are now going to commence the rebuilding of west Fresno to make sure that the sidewalks, parks, streets, trails, housing, and the amenities they've been asking for finally arrives," said councilmember Miguel Arias.

During a press conference Thursday, the mayor said funding for this project comes from President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Fresno received $177 million from the federal package.

"It's going to allow us to continue to do these efforts at a large-scale basis," said Dyer.
But this is just one small step towards the bigger goal of rebuilding. Arias says the west side of town will soon have a new college campus, a 10-acre park, affordable housing, and grocery stores. All community centers in district 3 will also be remodeled, according to Arias.

"We are excited, we are ready, it's been a long time coming for these improvements," said Yolanda Randles, director of the Mary Ella Brown Community Center.

Dyer says Fresno residents share the same desires for their neighborhoods. "They want a neighborhood that they can feel good about, a neighborhood that they can take pride in, and they want a neighborhood they can feel safe in."

In addition to repair and cleanup efforts, the mayor says there will be more enforcement to prevent illegal dumping in the city.

Volunteers can register for this event by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/north-avenue-neighborhood-blitz-tickets-144535853629

Beautify Fresno volunteers will meet at the community center the following day, Saturday, March 27, beginning at 9:30 a.m. for a neighborhood cleanup that will take place from 10 am - 12 pm.
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