Mayor Jerry Dyer was more than enthusiastic when unveiling FresnoHOP, the city’s new free trolley service. He was not only happy to introduce the green-and-tan-clad transportation devices but also to predict what it could mean for downtown Fresno’s future.
“It’s about exposing our Fresno City college students, folks in the Tower District, folks at Campus Point, Fresno State, our students, young adults — exposing them to downtown. Why? Not only do we have a lot to offer downtown by way of entertainment, but those folks, we believe, are our future residents for downtown Fresno,” Dyer said.
There will be no fare charged to riders, with the costs absorbed by the city. The city council voted last year 4-3 to buy the trolleys and operate the service.
Additional benefits cited by Dyer: more people socializing downtown and a deterrent to those drinking and driving.
Service starts Thursday, Nov. 9, and will operate Thursdays from 5 p.m. to midnight; and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Three trolleys will operate every hour on the hour between Campus Pointe next to Fresno State; and Fresno City College. Stops include the Tower District and the Brewery District.
Each $288,000 trolley has 32 seats and features WiFi. The city is budgeting $600,000 a year for the service.
Semiconductor Incentives Approved
The Fresno City Council will offer tax incentives to lure semiconductor manufacturers and those businesses on the supply chain to do business in the city.
Proposed by City Councilman Nelson Esparza, the goal of the CHIPS Incentive Program is to recruit businesses to use some of the nearly $53 billion in federal funding for the industry here in Fresno.
“The multi-billion-dollar cost to build semiconductor fabs and the extensive resources required to operate them factor heavily into site selection. However, the scope of the Chips Act incentives — aimed at also building up the broader domestic semiconductor ecosystem — may open opportunities for new locations, such as Fresno, beyond primary semiconductor production centers,” said Joe Stockunas, U.S. region president of industry association SEMI.
SEMI said 18 semiconductor fabrication plants could open in the United States between now and 2026.
The 7-0 vote came during the consent agenda, with no discussion.
Furniture Store Approved at Former Boomer’s Site
A furniture store will move forward at a north Fresno site once occupied by a well-known entertainment destination.
Living Spaces Furniture wants to build a 104,000-square-foot store on North Abby Street. It would be on the location of the former Boomer’s, a mini-golf and entertainment destination that was closed and demolished in 2017.
The project won approval from the planning department, but the Laborers International Union of North America appealed both the permit and the CEQA (environmental findings).
The planning commission denied the appeal, approving the permit on Oct. 4; and it was up to the city council to approve the environmental report.
With limited discussion, the city council voted 7-0 to deny the appeal on the CEQA, and allow the furniture store to move forward.