Fresno's abandoned Granite Park sports complex may be revived

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The former Granite Park sports complex has been abandoned and decaying for years, but now there's hope it will reopen and be better than ever.

Fresno businessman TJ Cox is partnering with local developer Terance Frasier to rebuild the 10-year-old complex that fell into bankruptcy and abandonment after just a few years of use.

"You are going to have a first-class recreational amenity for all of the citizens of this area to enjoy, baseball fields, softball fields, soccer fields, walking tracks, volleyball, basketball," said Cox.

Cox says investors are willing to put $2 to $3 million into the project, and Mark Standriff, the city of Fresno's communications director, says city officials are optimistic.

"Actually, we are very excited because we have significant interest from a local nonprofit organization who has raised the money necessary to put forward a proposal that would revamp and renovate Granite Park," said Standriff.

The park first opened in 2005, but quickly ran into financial problems. The city co-signed a note on the property and ended up losing more than $5 million. Now, the plan is to lease it to the new nonprofit for a minimal price, as long as they pick up all the costs.

Cox says operations like this don't make much money, but believes it's an investment in the community, and local businesses who build next to the park are hopeful it works.

Erin Garrison is a manager at a physical therapy office next to the park. She said, "The infrastructure's there. The fact that someone's coming in to make it work, that is exciting."

Paul Gilchrist just opened the Midtown Community Farmers Market on property next to Granite Park. He said, "If they can do it, great, and it will help us out a great deal too."

Local residents Mike and Sue Angove said they would be relieved to see the place fixed up and running. "We were really disappointed the baseball fields went downhill, and if somebody can revitalize it, that would be just fantastic," said Mike Angove.

The city and the backers are still working out the details, and a proposal is expected to go before the city council by the end of the month. If it does reopen, there's one thing for sure: it will not be called Granite Park. That name carries a lot of baggage. They will be looking for a new identity for the recreation complex.
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