Thank you, Jason Farris, for asking me to write a column for the FresYes e-newsletter. The number one reason that I said yes is because Jason and his company are so incredibly positive about our community. I am attracted to positive community efforts and the people who are involved in them.
Who the heck am I? I’m a weirdo. I’m a downtown revitalization, old neighborhood, old houses weirdo. I grew up in the furthest reaches of northwest Fresno, surrounded by fig orchards and fields. Herndon was a two lane road with no stoplights from Highway 99 to Blackstone. But I loved the older neighborhoods and houses where my grandparents lived. I bought my first old home in 1983 it was built in 1929, near Maroa and Shields. When my friends all moved north, I moved south. Every older home I bought had charm and they all doubled in value.
In 1987 my early mentor Dan Whitehurst put me on a path to learn how downtown and neighborhood revitalization works and I’ve been on that path for 30 years. He encouraged me to travel and to meet with people who engaged in revitalization, to find out what was working in their cities and what wasn’t.
I’ve been lucky to see revitalization from a wide variety of perspectives: homeowner/resident (4 old homes), city council/policymaker, building owner and manager, planning consultant, revitalization manager (Pleasanton & Hanford), President of California Main Street, Downtown & Neighborhood Revitalization Dept. Director for the City of Fresno, teacher of Urban Entrepreneurship at Fresno State, student of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University, urban farmer, owner of Peeve’s Public House and the Fulton Mall Manager for the Downtown Fresno Partnership (an association created by downtown property owners). I’m currently working on an investment fund to buy, renovate and lease smaller commercial buildings in downtown, it’s the first of its kind in the Central Valley (why be second?).
I love being involved in the transformation of our community and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. My columns won’t all be about downtown, there are plenty of other good things happening, from local food and wine to fly-fishing and camping, to art and music and gardening. Maybe I’ll even throw in some even some politics and history. I’ll probably sneak in some grandson and dog pics, too.
I love Fresno and the Central San Joaquin Valley (do you know who San Joaquin was Click on the link to find out!). There…you might’ve learned something about this place already!
- The Rise, Fall & Rise of Fresno’s Lowell Neighborhood - June 11, 2021
- For the Love of Chocolate… - February 11, 2019
- Tower Yoga is about balance, flexibility, and community - October 25, 2018