Southeast Fresno community members call for more parks, soccer fields

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There's a new effort to bring more parks and soccer fields to Southeast Fresno. (KFSN)

There's a new effort to bring more parks and soccer fields to Southeast Fresno.

Jose Leon-Barraza says Southeast Fresno is the bottom of the bottom when it comes to parks. He says a recent study of the 60 biggest American cities shows Fresno ranks at the very bottom in the area of parks and recreation. And Southeast Fresno, he says, has far fewer parks than areas of North Fresno.

"We really should be increasing the size of the pie, we shouldn't be fighting over who uses the available facilities," said Leon-Barraza, CEO of Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association.

And a big piece of that pie for Leon-Barraza and the SEFCEDA is soccer fields. Leon-Barraza has his eye on a 49-acre piece of land the city owns. But due to a lack of funds and the drought, Fresno City Councilmember Sal Quintero says his first priority is getting a vocational school in the space.

Fellow Councilman Clint Olivier says funding is the main issue, but finding new green space also takes time.
"The folks in the Southeast, I stand with them," Olivier said. "They want green space, they want parks, they want soccer fields, we have to start that process now if we're going to realize our goal years in the future."

In the meantime, Olivier says the city needs to work with Fresno Unified School District to use school soccer fields too.

That green space is a safe place for kids, and families to play, says Leon-Barraza. Even better, he says parks and soccer fields help improve overall quality of life.

"So we have to invest in the good health of our community, and that's what we do when we invest in parks," he said.

A community forum on this issue will take place next Tuesday at The Grace United Methodist Church. It starts at 6 p.m.

Related Topics:
soccercommunityFresno City CouncilstudyhealthsafetyFresnoFresno - Southeast
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