City leaders outline plans to revitalize Fresno parks, add two new ones

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Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says park improvements will be paid with cash. (KFSN)

Fresno parks could soon be getting a much-needed facelift. As part of its 2015-2016 proposed budget, city leaders on Monday outlined how much money they would like to designate for parks, and where it would be spent.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin says Fresno parks have been neglected, and some even forgotten. She pointed to Central Fresno's Vinland Park, where city leaders gathered Monday morning to release their proposed parks budget.

"This park is a great example of the type of asset that we want to improve, renovate and rehabilitate in this year's budget," Swearengin said.

The proposed parks budget is $5.8 million, $4.6 million of which will go toward renovating existing parks and community centers, like Pilibos Park in Southeast Fresno.

"We're restoring what we already have and making it better, a good example is Pilibos Park, where we're putting in bleachers, which we didn't have before, goal posts, improving the field," said Fresno City Councilmember Sal Quintero. "It gets used a lot."

The budget also includes funding for two new city parks, including the Universally Accessible Park, slated to open later this summer, and Cultural Arts District Park, estimated to open early next year. There's also a 20-year plan of finding enough new green space to meet a goal of five acres of park space per 1,000 residents.

"But in my remaining months in office, I want to make sure that I leave behind a 20-year plan that ultimately gets our community to where it should be from a parks standpoint," Swearengin said. She says Fresno currently has 1,600 acres of parks, but will need to add another 3,800 acres to achieve the goal.

The Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability says the city is off to a good start, but also needs to update the Parks Master Plan, to account for more green space for the entire city.

"So we want to make sure that if we are speaking about acreage, that there is the funding to make sure that there is allocation to buy green spaces and that those are in South Fresno," said Leticia Corona, a policy advocate for the Leadership Counsel.

The city confirms the mayor will present the parks master plan within the next year and a half.

Related Topics:
politicsbudgetmoneyplaygroundcommunityFresno City Councilashley swearenginfresnoFresno - CentralFresno - Downtown
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