FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – After being closed for more than a year, the owner of Club One is looking to reopen in Granite Park. Kyle Kirkland and Fresno City Manager Thomas Esqueda hosted a community meeting about the potential move on Thursday.
Kirkland said he is hoping his business will be welcomed into a new community, after being a staple in Fresno’s downtown for 25 years.
“Certainly we have to prove ourselves to these residents. They might not know us as well but I’m confident that in a very short period of time they’re going to say ‘Oh yes, that’s a strong positive. We like what we’re seeing,'” he said.
Kirkland was looking to get the green light on the move from Fresno City Council late last month but was asked to do more community outreach to get a feel for what neighbors may think.
“We posted notices within social media, on the electronic billboard adjacent to the property, we went door to door and handed out leaflets,” he said.
At the meeting, Kirkland and Esqueda fielded questions in person and via Zoom. The crowd’s opinions on the $12 million project were mixed, with traffic, crime, and drinking some of the top concerns. Others argued security would be tighter, it would bring more prosperity to the area, and reduce petty crime.
“What happens when people start traveling to get out and start going into our neighborhoods?” one man asked.
“I’m excited to have a safe place to come and watch my sports,” said another man who lived nearby.
“I feel that the drinking that you got your permit for is not good for this area,” a concerned resident said.
Potential business neighbor Manny Perales of Yosemite Falls spoke in favor of the move. He pointed out how the vacant building Club One Casino is hoping to occupy was a magnet for transients, drugs, and crime. Kirkland said he’s invested about $600,000 already into cleaning it up. Perales said having a successful business in the neighborhood would only be a positive for the area.
“Empty lots, weeds, all the stuff that’s gone on in the last eight years here I’ve seen. So how do you increase the value of your property? Success,” Perales said.
Kirkland vowed if the move is approved, and the community wants it, he will host quarterly meetings to address concerns.
The City Council could approve the move when they discuss it again on the 19th. If they do, Kirkland said he plans to be up and running within two weeks.