Friends say I am perky and optimistic. This post is nothing of the sort.
As a local business owner who works to feature and support other local establishments in diverse neighborhoods I am compelled to speak out in hope of shaming our city leaders and its employees into doing what they are charged with…………………….
The city of Fresno has been entrusted with a phenomenal collection of historic world class art and a renown pedestrian mall designed by Garrett Ecobo known for his modernist landscapes.
Widely regarded as one Eckbo’s masterworks, the Fulton Mall in Ecobos own words reflects the importance of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley; “The plenitude of quiet and moving waters, and of shade and greenery from trees and arbors, symbolizes the bursting vitality of irrigated agriculture in the hot interior valley of the arid west”.
On a recent walking tour of this incredible outdoor mall, it is clearly evident the City’s unwillingness and inability to carryout its entrusted basic maintenance or upkeep; the stewardship it is entrusted with.
While it is acknowledged the current economy is challenging, the mall stewardship is not new nor is it only in recent times that its basic maintenance of highly valuable public art and refreshing landscape has been neglected.
About 10yrs. ago, Talos, one of the sculptures on the mall was not only vandalized but completely broken to bits. It has only recently come to light that the artist, James Lee Hansen, had never been contacted about repairing it yet is quite willing to do so!
Further, mall property owners expend considerable time let alone private funds in an attempt to keep the mall lush and green only to have city maintenance pull out planted greenery despite the maintenance departments recent statement at a DRUM meeting to see that would not happen. The least the city can and should be doing is watering the landscape so as not to loose what is currently invested.
It’s called good stewardship.
Thankfully, mall property owners have recently taken the bold step of taxing themselves with the recent enactment of PBID. The dream of a world class outdoor sculpture garden remains. Sadly, how long it will remain alive and well in the City’s trust is questionable.
Can you tell I am indignant? As a local business who works to feature and support other local businesses on the mall I am appalled at the city’s excuses and downright abandonment of their entrusted stewardship. The least they can do is give the city employee they have driving along the mall at night a water truck or a hose and tell him to water the landscape. Just what is the purpose someone driving the mall in a city truck with the flashing light at night and beeping at pedestrians anyway? It is a PEDESTRIAN mall.
If Fresno’s City Hall wants a vibrant, diverse and thriving city it as it claims, the Mall IS and must be part of that. Why would any business seek to located downtown let alone on the mall if the city cannot even minimally carry out its entrusted stewardship of world class art, renown landscape, minimal maintenance or water? It is time for the City of Fresno to either step up and take their responsibly seriously or step aside and relinquish the trust to several existing non government foundations, councils and public groups who continuously grapple with City Hall in an attempt to see the Mall’s existence and dream is upheld.