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City of Fresno looks at the cost of Granite Park

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Granite Park once carried a lot of promise. But a development with ball parks and nightclubs fell apart, leaving the City of Fresno with $6 million in debt. The park now sits empty but it's still costing the city close to $100,000 a year to maintain what's there.

Where once stood a field of hope and dreams, now sits a turf of broken promises. Granite Park is nothing more than patches of dry grass and a chain-link fence -- an eyesore for nearby businesses. "It kind of looks like they could have made something really nice with it and for a lot of people to enjoy. But it's just been stuck there for a long time," said Cullen Hazelton who frequents nearby Metalmark, a rock climbing facility.

The neglected space has attracted its share of criminal activity. Some of the walls are filled with graffiti and the electrical units have been hit by copper wire thieves. "We're trying to keep the graffiti down. We have security. We spend probably close to $100,000 a year just on maintaining the property," said Bruce Rudd, Fresno City Manager.

And the city is running out of options. "I think at this point in time, demolition is going to be the only alternative because it's deteriorated to the point where I don't think the fields are even salvageable anymore," said Rudd.

Throughout the years, there have been several developers that have expressed interest in bringing some life to the area. A current proposal would turn part of the 18 acre site into a lake for wake boarding but the city would have to dig out the lake -- a financial risk it's not in a position to take. "The problem is for a developer. They have to convince an investor that there's a market out here and what they're proposing is viable," said Rudd.

For now, the surrounding businesses are trying to carry their own weight while they wait for the city to make a move. "I see this as something that's just sitting in the way that's never going to get completed. I hope they do something with it," said Hazelton.

But city officials aren't optimistic something can be done soon. They say the current economic outlook just isn't there to pour money into an expensive project.

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fresno, fresno county, fresno northeast, local, carlos saucedo
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