FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- State leaders joined city officials Thursday for a tour of some of Fresno's once-forgotten areas.
Southwest Fresno, Chinatown and Downtown contain some of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation but members from the state's Transformative Climate Communities want to change all that.
Funded by California's Cap and Trade program, $66.5 million has been awarded to Fresno to help improve infrastructure while reducing CO2 emissions.
Director of Housing and Homeless Initiatives H Spees says Fresno was the first California city to receive this grant from the TCC.
"All of those dollars are now being leveraged for other developments that include the State Center Community College District campus in West Fresno, other housing developments that are emerging," Spees said. "It's that type of spark plug that we needed to get the engine of development going in our community."
The state's investment aims to address nearly five square miles of Fresno historically plagued by racial inequities and environmental injustice.
Among the projects -- a former warehouse on the St. Rest campus will make way for a new food hub that will also include classrooms and meeting spaces.
Construction is underway on a Chinatown project that will offer affordable housing.
The Fresno Metro Ministry is partnering with the Housing Authority to develop a resident-led community garden and green space in Southwest Fresno.
"This is going to be a thriving resilient community that has all of the services and support that residents are asking for and should have close to their proximity where they live, where they work and where they go to school," says Lynn Von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council.