Fresno city leaders push to create sustainable funding for veteran services

Vanessa Vasconcelos Image
Friday, May 27, 2022
Leaders pushing for improvements to facilities used by Valley veterans
EMBED <>More Videos

Fresno City Leaders are pushing for a proposal that would fund improvements for facilities used by local veterans.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the heart of downtown Fresno, you can find an ode to the service of Valley heroes.

Each branch of military is represented on flags just outside but inside, you can find the bravery and sacrifice of those who have defended our country on full display.

Open Monday through Saturday, the Veterans Memorial Museum runs solely on donations.

Fresno City leaders are pushing to find a sustainable source of funding for this building and a potential veterans memorial district.

Mayor Jerry Dyer says, "Our memorial building is so outdated. You do not have air conditioning in the foyer area. The stage needs to be redone. There's so much that's been neglected for many years, there just hasn't been funding for it."

While putting Measure V or a one-eighth of a cent sales tax on the November ballot is still up for discussion, city leaders say it has the potential to generate $10 million per year that would go not only to the memorial building but a memorial district similar to that in Clovis.

Dyer says, "About 40% of the dollars that go toward that memorial in Clovis are people living in Fresno, so it is time that we have our own funding source."

Army Veteran and VFW District 9 incoming commander Phillip Cervantes spoke before council to express the need for veteran resources.

He says, "A lot of veteran organizations run their organization out of trunks of cars because they don't have a building. It's long overdue -- veterans need a place to call home, a place to memorialize veterans, especially vets that have lost their lives in combat."

Opponents argue funding should come from Measure P dollars, but Mayor Jerry Dyer says those dollars are minimal.

Mayor Dyer says, "Those Measure P dollars were really designated in terms of what percentage of total dollars could go to youth programs, park developments, park trails, San Joaquin river bottom. What's left for our veterans? It's appreciated, but it's not enough to do what we need to do to make our memorial building and what we want to do for our veterans. Something we can all be proud of."

The city council will vote on whether to put Measure V on the November ballot in July.