August 15 and 16; September 19


In these “open house meetings” the study committee is to present specific options for input, based on research of the synthesis of all the past Fulton Mall studies and the collection of information on similar downtown malls throughout the USA and input from a variety of sources—emails, websites, letters, media, etc. The meeting times and places are as follows:

Tuesday, August 15, 6-8 p.m., in the Banker’s Ballroom of the Security Bank Building, 1060 Fulton Mall. To request an agenda and summary of the August 15 meeting, please contact Paul Pierce.

August 15, 2006, Fulton Mall Forum. Photo by 1000 Friends of Fresno.

Wednesday, August 16, 12:30-2:30 in the City Council Chambers of City Hall. The public will be allowed to comment (three-minute limit).

September 19. This is the tentative date for a City Council workshop on the Mall. The public will also be allowed to make comments.

The following information is an excerpt from the Downtown Association Public Input Forums Web site:Forums to Seek Public Input on Fulton Mall’s FutureThe City of Fresno and leaders from the Mayor’s Creative Economy Council (CEC) are hosting a series of public meetings in July and August 2006 to discuss the future of the Fulton Mall. The CEC’s January report identified the lack of nightlife on and around the Mall as reason for the City to consider ways to revitalize the area.

In response to that report, on March 14, the City Council voted 5-2 to begin a process of public input on what should be done with the Fulton Mall. Debate over the Mall’s future – formal and informal – is nothing new. A 2002 report by ELS Architecture and Urban Design recommended returning car traffic to the Mall, while historic preservation groups and others have consistently opposed the idea.

The goal of the 2006 forums is to move beyond the debate over opening the Mall to traffic. Downtown Fresno today is in a state of near-daily transition and, now more than ever, revitalizing the Mall will take creative thinking and a willingness to act boldly together to make the change we want to see happen. Car traffic may be one answer to some of the Mall’s needs, but we know it cannot be the only answer. These meetings are your chance to share your ideas on what we can do to make the Fulton Mall area more vibrant. For more information, please contact the Downtown Association office at (559) 490-9966, or Elliott Balch.

Meeting Schedule:

July 12, 6 to 8 pm
Ted C. Wills Center cafeteria
770 N. San Pablo Ave.

July 14, 10 am to 12 noon
Arte Américas
1630 Van Ness Ave.

July 17, 6 to 8 pm
T.W. Patterson Building mezzanine
950 Fulton Mall

Based on the information gathered at these meetings, the City will prepare several options for action. Input on these options will be solicited at public meetings in August. The meetings are tentatively scheduled for:

August 15, 6 to 8 pm
Bankers Ballroom
1060 Fulton Mall

August 16, 11 am to 1 pm
City Hall, Council Chambers
2600 Fresno St.

A PLAZA REBORNAmphitheater’s debut kicks off renovation at Fresno’s Eaton Plaza.

By George Hostetter / The Fresno Bee
(Updated Friday, August 4, 2006, 10:31 AM)

It took nearly six decades, but downtown Fresno’s Eaton Plaza is finally looking like a real park.

City officials celebrated the opening of Eaton’s new amphitheater Thursday evening, marking completion of the first phase in the park’s long-anticipated renovation.

City Manager Andy Souza said the amphitheater is “the rebirth of what is truly a beautiful green space downtown.”

More than 100 people gathered in the amphitheater in the park’s southwest corner to hear brief speeches from city officials, watch dance groups perform and listen to music.

“This is your park,” Council Member Brian Calhoun told the audience. “This is what your taxes are paying for. This is why people are looking to downtown to come back.”

Fresno voters in 1947 passed a bond to buy the property that is now Eaton Plaza. The 4.2 acres, next to the historic water tower, was to be a park.

But money was always tight, and nothing sprouted on the property except a strip of grass bracketed by parking lots. With Calhoun’s help, the city recently redirected state park bond money to jump-start Eaton’s transformation into the inviting green space that Fresnans had originally envisioned.

The amphitheater cost about $545,000 and seats 300, with room for an additional 150 on the grassy area around it. It could cost $7 million to complete the park’s other four phases.

Jena Adams, who works on Fulton Mall for the Fresno County Human Services System, was among those sitting in the amphitheater.

There was a slight breeze, the temperature hovered in the bearable low 90s and the sun slowly slipped behind the government buildings to the west. Kids jumped on the grass, parents sat on the concrete benches or lawn chairs they’d brought and sweet music drifted toward Fresno Street and City Hall.

This scene was supposed to have been a routine event at Eaton Plaza ever since Harry Truman was president. Better late than never.

Said Adams: “Fresno has needed this for so long.”

The reporter can be reached at ghostetter@fresnobee.comor (559) 441-6272.
Original article, with photos by Darrel Wong.

For more information about Eaton Plaza, please see the Downtown Fresno Coalition page.

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