Who would have thought that a Board meeting about parking lots could stir up so much drama? But whether residents of Fresno will be allowed to drive on a public road to a projected public parking lot has certainly been raising more than one person’s blood pressure.
On November 15th, I attended the San Joaquin River Conservancy Board meeting with my advocacy team. The Conservancy Board was meeting to decide on the issue of where public access points (particularly vehicle access) are to be located for River West.
River West is over 500 acres of public land that stretches along the San Joaquin River just North of the city of Fresno. For 14 years it has waited for the development necessary for public access (parking lots, trails, etc.). There is currently only one public road (Riverview Drive) that provides direct access from Fresno to the River West property. This road happens to be in one of the wealthiest parts of Fresno and many residents of the Bluffs came to the Board meeting to strongly oppose access to River West via Riverview Drive (also known as Alternative 1). But Riverview Drive/Alternative 1 also had strong supporters. Former Fresno city councilmember Tom Bohigian gave an excellent speech in support of Alternative 1 which earned a round of applause from the audience.
The Conservancy Board will meet on December 13th to once again try to decide on access points for River West. My team and I will be in attendance and I urge all those who believe in equitable access to public properties to come and support Riverview Drive/Alternative 1. If the next meeting is half as lively as the last it will not disappoint.