Update on Questions Discussed at Community Steering Committee Meeting #4 on 9/27
Q: Were new projects included in the Community Steering Committee Meeting #4 packet of projects?
A: No. All projects in the 9/27 Community Steering Committee Meeting #4 (CSC #4) packet were on the original list of projects that submitted proposals by the Request for Concept Proposals deadline.
All the projects in the 9/27 CSC #4 packet were also presented at Project Review Day with two exceptions:
• Project #33 “Another Level Training Academy” did not present at Project Review Day because of circumstances beyond their control.
• Projects #23, 24, and 11 — the TCC FAX Connector Project, MLK Activity Center Offsites and Chinatown PBID feasibility study — did not present at Project Review Day because they are not seeking TCC funding. They are fully funded projects that are providing match for the TCC process without asking for money.
Please see the “Project Crosswalk” for a side-by-side comparison of project summaries from the 9/20 Project Review Day and the 9/27 CSC #4 project summaries.
Q: Did the budget numbers change on some projects from Project Review Day to the CSC #4 packet?
A: Yes. 14 of the 37 projects included in the CSC #4 packet had changes to their overall budgets, TCC requests, or matching funding. Please see the “Project Crosswalk” spreadsheet for explanations on the changes to the 14 projects. To help ensure as many projects as possible are able to proceed in the process and be considered by the community, the City is allowing project proposers to continue to provide updated information throughout the process. The materials provided at CSC #4 included all the information provided by proposers through the morning of 9/27.
Please see the “Project Crosswalk” for a comparison of updated budget numbers to original project submission data.
Q: Why is the City of Fresno submitting requests for TCC funding? Doesn’t the City have other sources of funding to pay for the projects they submitted?
A: At CSC #4, some participants noticed what seemed like more “City” projects than were presented at Project Review Day. This is because many projects presented by community members on Project Review Day actually have to be implemented by the City. For example, the Chinatown leaders presented three projects at Project Review Day—a park, urban greening and transportation improvements. These are all public improvements that have to be implemented by the City if the Community Steering Committee selects them to be part of the TCC plan.
The City only submitted the projects that were (1) direct requests by resident groups and are the City’s responsibility to implement or (2) are required by the State guidelines to be included in the City’s package. Those projects are:
• Chinatown Active Transportation Project – submitted at the request of Chinatown residents
• Chinatown Urban Greening Project – submitted at the request of Chinatown residents
• Chinatown Park – submitted at the request of Chinatown residents
• MLK Activity Center Park – submitted half the cost of the park at the request of the MLK Activity Center developers
• High Speed Rail Station Area Complete Streets Connectivity Project – TCC guidelines require the City’s application to include a complete street project within walking distance of the HSR station. The City submitted this request, along with the H Compete Street and Tulare Complete Street projects, to provide the community with options for fulfilling this TCC requirement.
• H Complete Street – See note above.
• Tulare Complete Street Project – See note above.
• Mariposa Plaza – The City submitted this request to provide an option to fulfill the TCC guidelines requiring a park or open space within walking distance of the HSR station in its application to the state.
• SW Fresno Green Trails and Cycle Paths Initiative – The City submitted this project in partnership with the US Green Building Council of Central California and the VOICES coalition.
The City does not have funding to complete the above projects. The projects will not move forward if they are not selected for TCC funding. The Community Steering Committee has the option to pick which, if any, of the City’s projects it wants to include in its recommendations to the Mayor’s Office. However, the City is required to include certain projects around the HSR station area and has provided options for residents to pick from in order to fulfill that requirement.
Q: What, if any, matching funding is the City committing to the TCC initiative?
A: The Mayor is committed to providing $21,675,000 in matching funds for the projects below. These commitments are subject to approval by the Fresno City Council.
• $11,600,000 for the street and utility offsite improvements needed to launch Phase I of the MLK Activity Center.
• $4,500,000 for half the cost of the MLK Activity Center park.
• $5,500,000 for the capital and service costs needed to provide high frequency transit services between Downtown, Chinatown, and Southwest Fresno – a requirement of the TCC guidelines.
• $75,000 to fund the feasibility study for establishing at Chinatown Property Based Improvement District.
Q: What is most needed in Southwest Fresno are retail services. Why don’t any TCC projects focus on bringing new stores and services to the Southwest?
A: Unfortunately TCC funds cannot be directly spent on retail development, but there are eligible projects in this process that will incentivize, encourage, and support the future development of retail such as a major grocery store or Wal-Mart. For example, the following projects will help attract residents and customers, building demand for retail in the area and making the area attractive to retailers:
• The Fresno City College Southwest Satellite Campus ($16.9 m request), and
• The public park at the MLK Activity Center ($4.5 m request).
In addition, the Administration has committed to funding from non-TCC sources the following projects in order to catalyze private retail development at the MLK Activity Center:
• Street and utility offsite infrastructure improvements ($11.6 m), and
• $5.5 m of FAX capital improvements and services to connect the MLK Activity Center to Chinatown and Downtown.
Q: What are the minimum requirements each package needs to include to meet the State’s guidelines?
A: The Fresno TCC Plan must meet all of the following minimum requirements
• Total TCC ask is no greater than $70 million.
• Total match is at least $35 million.
• 1 or more projects create a car, bus, bike lane, or pedestrian connection between the high-speed rail station and surrounding neighborhoods.
• 1 or more projects create affordable and mixed-use housing within walking distance to the high-speed rail station. State program staff have specifically informed the Fresno TCC process team that walking distance will be the standard for meeting this requirement.
• 1 or more projects that create complete streets and provide active transportation amenities surrounding the high-speed rail station area.
• 1 or more projects that create parks and open space amenities surrounding the high-speed rail station area.
• Reduce greenhouse gasses.
• Avoid displacement of existing residents and businesses.
• Improve public health and achieve environmental benefits.
• Expand economic opportunity and shared prosperity.
• Select projects that support each other’s success and attract additional projects, investment and positive change.
Q: What will members vote on at Community Steering Committee Meeting #5 on Wednesday, October 4? Are we voting on each project? Or packages of projects? If we are voting on packages, who will create those packages?
At CSC #5, eligible voters will vote on a range of alternative packages of projects.
• Members will vote on packages, rather than individual projects, because the TCC program requires a coordinated community-based plan made up of projects that connect to each other, support each other and create the momentum to bring more investment and improvement. TCC requires us to adopt their strategy of developing a plan to transform an entire community through a cohesive package of carefully coordinated, connected and integrated projects.
• The packages voters will consider will be created from all of the packages participants created at CSC #4. It would not be possible for the CSC to consider and vote on this many packages at CSC #5—this wall full of proposals needs to be grouped into a reasonable number of options for the members to analyze and debate. In doing this analysis, the goal of City staff will be to report back a reasonable number of options that 1) capture all the selections and approaches proposed by the groups, and 2) meet all the program requirements. Then it will be the CSC’s role to make sure staff has captured everything accurately and then discuss, debate and vote on the options.
Q: How will the City develop the anti-displacement policies/programs required by the state guidelines?
A: The state’s guidelines call for the creation of a Displacement Avoidance Plan that details the actions the City will take to establish policies and programs to avoid the economic displacement of existing households and small businesses within the Project Area. As the Project Area will be defined by the final package of projects, this process will take place after CSC #5 when the recommended package of projects is chosen. The City will then work with CSC participants, project proposers and everyone interested to create the best possible anti-displacement plan. An Anti-Displacement Plan Meeting will be held the week of October 9. The date and location will be announced as soon as possible.
Q: How will the City develop the small business programs required by the state guidelines?
A: The recommendations from the Community Steering Committee will help determine what additional programs need to be put into place to support small business creation and growth. There are several projects proposed that would involve supporting business creation in the clean transportation industry, for example.
In addition to supporting small business programs that may be recommended by the Community Steering Committee, the City is providing $75,000 in match funding to conduct the feasibility study needed to potentially launch a Property Based Improvement District in Chinatown, which will offer economic development support to the small businesses in Chinatown.
The City will also submit matching funding of $30,000 to retain the Incremental Development Alliance (IDA). IDA will provide the training and support necessary to help small property owners in Downtown, Chinatown and Southwest Fresno learn how to develop their properties into higher value, revenue producing properties. The goal of the training and support will be to equip current owners with the tools they need to increase their values and realize the benefits of economic growth.
Q: In addition to the State’s requirements for the TCC Program, are local criteria for project selection and package development being considered?
A: Yes. Twice during the first three Steering Committee meetings, participants worked to develop additional local criteria to be used in project selection and packaging. At the first Steering Committee meeting, members brainstormed additional local criteria at the beginning of the meeting and again after hearing the presentation from the State. After practice project packaging session at CSC #3, small groups reflected on their work and listed their top local criteria. All this input is compiled in the TCC Local Criteria List. At CSC #4, all participants were given a copy of the TCC Local Criteria List and were urged to carefully consider it when creating their plans.