A city council decision Thursday night could effect access to the San Joaquin River in one Fresno neighborhood. The controversial area is near Audobon and Del Mar, west of Freeway 41.
Residents who live there don't want more cars on their streets but the San Joaquin River Parkway says alternate entrances are out of the way.
The area in question is in the City of Fresno, so council members will decide whether it should be a main access point to the river. The debate is expected to be passionate.
On a warm, sunny day, Biology students from Willow International canoe on the San Joaquin River. It's a rarely used, undeveloped area.
"We had to drive all the way past Children's Hospital and take a dirt road with a lot of pot holes," said student Wyatt Ledferd.
The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust is trying to change that. A project called Fresno River West would build trails, turning this state-owned, 400 acre area, into a place for recreation. It's a concept many agree on.
"This is beautiful. This treasure should be used," said Dr. Pete Mehas, who lives in the area.
The big problem is how cars should access the area. The Parkway wants this residential road to be a major access point. The alternative is five miles north.
"I should be able to drive to this property in the City of Fresno. I don't think I should have to drive to a fresno property by going though the County of Madera," said Sharon Weaver, Deputy Director of San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust.
Residents, including Mehas, are worried about increased traffic and safety. He wants the project to move forward without using the road near his house.
"I cannot believe when they tell you that one easement for traffic is going to screw up the whole parkway," said Mehas.
The state is doing a public environmental review, which is where the Parkway says these issues should be vetted, not in a city council meeting.