City proposal would cut funding for Fulton Street maintenance in downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Merchants worry a funding cut could eventually cause the fountains on Fulton to close.

They believe a city council proposal to reduce Fulton Street maintenance funding by $200,000 could be catastrophic. In a letter to the council, the Downtown Fresno Partnership said, "To remove services from what is our city's historic heart, and a point of Fresno pride, will be detrimental to the further progress of the area. Downtown is ground zero for a growing homeless epidemic..."

"We're still in the early stages of our budgeting process, but I understand their concerns," said councilmember Luis Chavez. "They are basically self-assessing themselves to help their businesses, to help that area."

In fact,163 downtown property owners have raised $6 million over the past eight years to pay for events and maintenance.

Luis Chavez supported a motion by fellow councilmember Paul Caprioglio, who wants to use the $200,000 to add two bicycle officers in the area of Shaw and 6th.

But the city is looking into whether the funding can be touched. It may be tied into a $20 million federal grant which helped pay for the Fulton project.

"If that agreement was in place since Fulton Street opened, how long is the city supposed to fund that? Is it in perpetuity? Is it for 10 years?" Chavez asked.

Opening up traffic on Fulton resulted in more businesses taking a chance on downtown Fresno. Businesses worry a funding cut for maintenance could stall momentum.

The Fulton Street item was scheduled to be discussed at the Fresno City Council meeting Tuesday but now has been moved to Thursday when councilmembers vote on funding various projects.
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