Fresno officials get ready for downtown High Speed Rail station

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the opening of the Downtown High Speed Rail Station just seven years away, city leaders hope to make the most of the major change.

Renatta Carter-Ford supports the controversial project, and is curious how the city's proposed Fresno Station District will impact Chinatown, where she leases land to four businesses, including a tire shop. "And I wanted to come and check it out, find out what's happening with it."

After months of feedback from community members, businesses owners, and civic leaders the City of Fresno now has two fairly similar scenarios that they hope will make downtown a destination location after the station becomes operational in 2022.

"The thought is that once the station is here, it's going to bring in additional business, it's going to bring in additional interests, tourists, business travelers, so we're going to have more people coming here coming to Downtown Fresno we wanna make sure when they're arriving, there's amenities around for them to utilize," said Bonique Emerson, Fresno Planning Manager.

The hope is that once high speed rail passengers exit on Mariposa Street, they'll want to walk along the Mariposa Corridor to the Fulton Mall, or beyond.

In both scenarios, the city would reconnect streets on the city grid. The main difference between scenarios relates to how Chinatown will change: either more small scale retail and residential space, or more office space. "We really want to provide some kind of amenity to Chinatown, in this case, it's a park," explained Emerson.

Carter-Ford will need some time to process the proposals. A consultant will refine the scenarios again, and the city will hear from the public next year. "I think it will be worth it, I think once everything is done, it's definitely going to be worth it for Fresno."
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