Parks continue to be a huge priority for Fresno community groups, city leaders


The mayor's office has long been working on an initiative since Measure P failed last year

FRESNO, California (KGPE) — Southwest Fresno’s first BMX park is the latest effort to improve on the city’s parks situation. It’s part of the efforts of many Fresno City Council members who have made fixing up or building parks a priority this year.

For Rey Ybarra, the BMX park at the Sal Mosqueda Community Center helped him stay on track. Knowing the good it brought him, he helped start the work to make another one in the city.

“[A friend and I] decided the west side of town really needs something like this,” Ybarra said. “For all the kids, to keep them out of trouble.”

The culmination of around two years’ of work resulted in the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday at the Mary Ella Brown Community Center. Since 2018, Fresno Building Healthy Communities (BHC) has been working with community members and the city to develop and design the park.

The park is part of Fresno BHC’s #Parks4All campaign. Construction is set to conclude by Dec. 18 for the ribbon cutting.

“BMX-ers speak a very different language that we do, but they figured it out and guess what? We followed their lead,” said Kimberly McCoy, Fresno BHC’s community director.

The $600,000 project was funded by Fresno BHC, The California Endowment, The Disney Foundation and city funding. Fresno BHC footed around $300,000 of the bill.

The efforts at Fresno City Hall

Parks has been a strong item on Fresno City Council’s agenda this year, with some members — like Nelson Esparza — trying to bring Prop 68 grant dollars to improve parks like Quigley Park and Radio Park. Also, build one at Orangewood Drive and Church Avenue.

A group of volunteers sowed the seeds for a brand new community garden at Romain Park in Esparza’s district Wednesday. Esparza said for the city to make any improvement, it’ll need to invest.

Mark Standriff, spokesman for the city, said Mayor Lee Brand’s office has been working on an alternative to Measure P since it failed in 2018.

No concrete details of what it’ll look like at this time, but the plan is to get it ready to be voted on in 2020.

“I’ll look forward to supporting a measure that provides us funding for those different types of city departments — all of our departments are spread thin on the funding side,” Esparza said.

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