Fresno’s Chinatown needs help. City Hall, though, is focusing its development efforts elsewhere.
The cold shoulder isn’t just my imagination.
“Sadly, Chinatown does not get the same attention that Downtown does, not only from our city but from our investment community, as well,” Council Member Oliver Baines told me last week. Baines’ District 3 includes Chinatown.
“Chinatown has in many cases been left behind in terms of the economic growth that we see occurring, particularly in the Downtown area. We do everything we can in our office to raise attention to that (state of affairs). Chinatown has crime issues, particularly a very bad homeless problem that we are trying to combat head on. But we’ve got to do more for our Chinatown business owners.”
Of course, this has been Chinatown’s reality for decades. Why does City Hall indifference matter now?
To put it simply, high-speed rail.
The bullet train’s depot, the first of its kind in America, will be built in the Downtown area of Mariposa and H streets, just to the east of Chinatown. Travelers from throughout the nation and the world will be coming to Fresno.
City leaders for years have been trying to revitalize Downtown. The inspiration for this immense effort is manifold. It’s sufficient here to note that much good work has been done. Bullet train passengers, even if just passing through, will see an increasingly robust Downtown Fresno.
As things stand now, they’ll also see a devastated Chinatown.