Preserving The Past

KFSN (ABC Local), CA
July 28 2004

Preserving The Past

It’s old versus new in downtown Fresno. The latest conflict is on the
corner of Van Ness and Kern over the historic, but crumbling, Arco

It’s a battle between progress and the past, and it’s being fought
all over downtown Fresno.

In 1931, it was the one-stop shop for car maintenance – known then as
the l.C. Wesley Super Garage.

It was the ultimate convenience for downtown workers – drop off your
car in the morning and pick it up at the end of the day. But, beyond
it’s colorful past, the Arco Garage was Fresno’s first glimpse of art
deco design.

Four years ago, the county tried to tear down the Arco Garage to make
way for an office building. Today, supervisors are once again
debating it’s future, whether to keep it, sell it to the historical
society, or a developer who envisions loft-style apartments.

Fresno’s track record for preserving the past by saving historic
buildings is not pristine:

The old courthouse – torn down.
The old city hall – torn down.
The old McMahon’s is being torn down.
The historic Armenian Church, replaced by a parking lot.
Even on Tuesday, the city turned down a plan to restore the vacant
Hotel Fresno.
As for the modest two-story Arco Garage, even the Downtown
Association is not so sure it’s worth preserving, but does like the
idea of more housing and saving Fresno’s architectural history.

The county will get the property appraised and take up the issue
again in September.

If it goes to the Historical Society, it will remain parking.

If the developer gets it, he says people could be living there within
a year.