When the Downtown Fresno Partnership was founded five years ago, the term ‘revitalization’ was already synonymous with our city. Some of you have heard it so often that the word itself has become semantic. Confucius said “when words lose their meaning, people lose their lives.” Revitalization is one of those words that has lost its meaning. It is one of those words that, for Fresno, falls short of the magnitude of what we are capable of and what we are trying to accomplish. If words cannot adequately encompass Fresno’s efforts to become an economically and developmentally competitive city, how do we let everyone know that Fresno, is not a city to disregard?
For those outside of Fresno, the negative perception they may hold of our city can only be reversed by action, and rightly so. We could spend the next one hundred years chronicling Fresno and telling everyone that, “yes Fresno is doing wonderfully.” However, if people cannot notice it themselves, the image that they have of our city will never change. If everyone with a ‘reliable voice’ and well known platform does not tell the honest tale of Fresno, our legacy could be fated to a collective bias of the easy way out. In an effort to start tackling our ‘identity crisis,’ we needed to find a simple way of of showing you the results of five years of deliberate efforts to turn Fresno around. At tomorrow’s State of Downtown happy hour, we will be presenting these visuals so that you can see what we meant when we wrote last week, “you can argue with an idea, but when that idea becomes measurable, there is proof that patterns are forming.”
Through the chaos that has made Fresno, a different trend is forming, a trend that focuses not on fixing Fresno but reshaping it. What we are beginning to discover, is that Fresno doesn’t need ‘new life’, it never really did. What Fresno needs is involvement and evolution. What Fresno needs to do, which we have failed to do in the past, is introduce a little foresight. We should never bank on what seems to be indefinite. Our city’s strength should be our flexibility, our ability to adapt, and our willingness to evolve.
Tomorrow at the State of Downtown, we will not be celebrating a changed Fresno, or a vital one. We will be celebrating the possibilities and the new paths that community leaders and members have made for this city. Fresno can be a great city someday and whether you choose to believe that or not is a matter of apathy. This is a chance to guide our city, and to guide it with intelligence, and passion, and energy. This is our chance, not to revitalize but to adapt and sustain a new mentality and a new Fresno. We won’t get an indefinant amount of chances, and someday, if we do not try our hardest now, the world and even ourselves will give up on Fresno. Tomorrow, come to the State of Downtown and see for youself how, for the first time in a very long time, our city is finally ready to fight for what we have created, honor what we have lost, and plan for future of Fresno.
About the Event
The State of Downtown happy hour event will take place tomorrow at Warnors Theatre. Happy hour is at 4:30 and the program starts at 5:30. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.downtownfresno.org for $30 until midnight tonight, or for $35 at the door. Admission includes food and drink from local restaurants.
This exciting annual event showcases the ongoing development and excitement in downtown Fresno. Our emcee for the evening is Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. We’ll have special appearance by Mayor Ashley Swearengin who will be presenting the Al Allen Downtown Leadership Award.