Proposal coming to improve Fresno's South Tower

Miguel Arias added that he wants to invest $20 million in repaving the streets, fixing and building sidewalks, and even cutting down trees.

Video Transcript

JASON OLIVEIRA: Improvements could be coming to Fresno South Tower Area. Council Member Miguel Arias says he's taking action by proposing a multi-million plan to fix infrastructure issues and increase safety. Now Action News anchor Brittany Jacob joining us now live in the Tower District with more on those plans and the changes residents in the area would like to see. Brittany.

BRITTANY JACOB: Now Jason, those budget hearings for the next fiscal year will begin next week, but Arias wants to invest just a portion of the record amount of money into neighborhoods like this in the South Tower, focusing on public safety first.

MIGUEL ARIAS: This part of town was annexed into the city more than 110 years ago, and to this day, still doesn't have the basic infrastructure you'll find across other parts of the city.

BRITTANY JACOB: Council Member Miguel Arias is setting his sights on fixing up neighborhoods in his district. Last week, Arias joined Fresno Council President Luis Chavez and Council Member Nelson Esparza, to lay out a five year strategic plan, focused on rebuilding the city's oldest neighborhoods. On Wednesday, Arias highlighted the South Tower neighborhood.

MIGUEL ARIAS: I can tell you that these big bumps, this poor patchwork, and these huge cracks in the roads are a safety concern. And safety in the neighborhoods has to go beyond simply policing and it has to go to reinvesting in neighborhood infrastructure and in our community.

BRITTANY JACOB: Residents in this community gathered to voice their concerns to the councilmen. Steven Chandler has lived in the South Tower since 1976, just a few minutes from Lamere Elementary School. What do you want to see done in your neighborhood?

STEVEN CHANDLER: I think there are a lot of streets where we do need sidewalks and street reconstruction.

BRITTANY JACOB: Uh-huh.

STEVEN CHANDLER: And that'll make a big difference for the safety of children that are walking to school. You consider the well-being of children that walk by here every day on their way to school, and how can you put a price on that.

BRITTANY JACOB: Arias says the city will receive more than $100 million in sales tax revenue this fiscal year. Not to mention, the $250 million from the federal government, 37 million from the Measure P parks tax, property taxes, and the start of a cannabis tax. Arias says he wants to invest $20 million in repaving the streets, fixing and building sidewalks, and even cutting down trees.

JOHN CUMMINGS: These trees are like 100 years old and they're beautiful, but the city just doesn't maintain them like they used to. And we've been losing huge branches. If they don't fall out of the tree, they don't worry about it. So, one day one of them will land on somebody and then they might take action.

BRITTANY JACOB: Now Arias says he also wants to bring forward a solution like converting empty lots like this into new housing, and in response the mayor says that he too wants to prioritize neighborhoods that have been left behind. Live in South Tower, Brittany Jacob, ABC30 Action News.