First Measure P Park Planned Near Fresno High School
Residents near Fresno High School will have a new pocket park to enjoy next spring.
“I had a vision for what this neighborhood could be, and I’m seeing that vision come to fruition because of the investment of private small businesses that have come in, but also the neighborhood and the love that they’ve poured into it,” Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria said Tuesday.
Watch: New Fresno High Area Pocket Park
The park will pack a lot into a small area, three-quarters of an acre — a playground, exercise zones, dedicated water bowls for dogs, an amphitheater, and a bocce ball court.
City officials say it will be the first new park paid for by Measure P — the voter-approved sales tax for parks.
The $3.3 million project at the corner of Van Ness Boulevard and Weldon Avenue will require the city to close a turn lane. The right-hand turn from west Weldon to north Van Ness will be incorporated into the park. The city council will take votes this week and in June to convert the road and buy the property it does not already own.
Construction will start this summer with anticipated completion by spring 2023.
Residents Previously Created a Makeshift Park
The neighborhood uses the triangle median as “de facto green space,” Soria said. Across the street from such foody favorites as Quesadilla Gorilla and Ampersand Ice Cream, neighbors erected makeshift park benches.
Jane Najera and her daughter Athena say they are excited about the new park.
“I can’t tell you how often she’s always asking to go to the park,” Najera said. “We’re always having evening walks. I have a dog, so I’m sure he would also be very excited to have and also interact with other dogs in the neighborhood.”
Meg Clark, operations specialist at Quesadilla Gorilla, envisions customers using the park to eat.
“COVID regulations have gotten eased a bit, but I think a lot of people still feel most comfortable eating outdoors. And of course, while we do have our parklet, that park would just be another area for people to kind of safely gather,” Clark said.
Park Name Undecided
The name of the park is yet to be decided. When asked whether the park could be named for Fresno native and baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, Soria said she would take that “under advisement.”
Seaver played prep ball at Fresno High School — catty-corner to the proposed park. The city named the part of Echo Avenue in front of the school for Seaver in 2016. He died in 2020.