The Truth about the Fulton Mall
To call the Fulton Mall a “mall” is misleading. It’s truly an urban oasis. A melting pot. It’s the only place in Fresno where the cultures get to meet and interact. As well as being a breathing space for a bit of relief from the noise of traffic, it’s a park in the middle of the inner city; trees, benches, fountains and mosaics. It’s a microcosm of what America’s dream is of being.
My name is Ian McDonald. I am 61 years old and live at the Californian Hotel. I’ve lived here five years, and every day in those five years I’ve enjoyed the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the Fulton Mall.
When I heard the mall was going to be gutted to put in three more blocks of Fulton Avenue, the first question I asked was “Why?” I was told by one of the proponents of the project that it would attract more business to downtown Fresno. I asked how tearing up the mall would do so, and she replied that having more parking spaces would save people from having to walk as far as they do now. That didn’t make sense to me, but then again I’m not a businessman—just an ordinary citizen with a conscience.
How does eviscerating the one main beautiful thing about downtown attract more business? The mall should be considered a state treasure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met people from all over the world having their pictures taken in front of one of the sculptures or fountains. Now the mayor and her minions want to take that away to put in a few more parking spaces.
There are plenty of other places just south of the mall to put in parking lots. And if people are afraid of walking a few blocks, there are bike taxis that could be used. Instead of tearing up the mall, the powers that be should repair the streets they already have and put in more street lights; fix things up, don’t tear things out.
The other day I saw a promotion on one of the CMAC channels—I think it was 96. The ad struck me as totally disingenuous, bordering on cruel. They were using photo images of all the sculptures and fountains of the Fulton Mall to show how beautiful the downtown area is, and they never said that this is what they will be tearing out in order to put in three new blocks of Fulton Avenue. How many parking spaces equal a beautiful sculpture?
I’m not against attracting business downtown, or lofts, or more hotels. I’d like more neighbors. But destroying the Fulton Mall is the last thing they should do. There are plenty of abandoned lots and buildings, just south and just west of the mall. I have an idea: They could raze City Hall—you know, that ugly building that looks like an overturned aluminum fishing boat? Yes, put in a parking lot there. Nobody seems to work there anyway.
If you are with me on saving the Fulton Mall, let your voices be heard. Contact the mayor. Let her know that she represents the people, not the moneyed interests. Also, you can Google “Save the Fulton Mall” for more information. It’s time to stand up to the greedy, corporate machine. Knowledge is power.