Fresno City Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Esmeralda Soria speak at a Tuesday press conference about plans for a new city-run, no-kill animal shelter. Their pets Coco Bredefeld and Buddy Soria appear with them. Photo by David Castellon
Written by David Castellon
Back in 2007, the city of Fresno sold a 200-acre parcel of land to Gap, Inc. for $2 as an incentive to build its regional warehouse/distribution center.
On Tuesday, city leaders announced Gap had returned the favor, agreeing to sell the city back a 4.6-acre section of the parcel off Airways Boulevard near Fresno-Yosemite International Airport, on which the city plans to build a new animal shelter.
The sale price for that land will be $1, Mayor Lee Brand told reporters gathered inside city hall Tuesday afternoon for the announcement.
“We’ve looked at a number of locations, but the Gap [parcel] was the best by far, because it’s centrally located near the airport, and it is far away enough from neighborhoods to avoid traffic and noise issues,” said Brand, who was flanked by city council members Garry Bredefeld and Esmeralda Soria, each holding their dogs, Coco Bredefeld and Buddy Soria, respectively.
Brand said the city got another donation, of sorts, from Fresno County, which is allowing city officials to use the plans for its own project to build an animal shelter that fell through, though efforts are still underway to eventually build a county shelter.
As for The Gap’s proposal, plans are underway to present a purchase agreement to the Fresno City Council on Feb. 13 and put it up for a vote.
Current estimates that the cost to build the no-kill shelter will total up to $20 million.
If the council approves the agreement, Brand said the new shelter could be built by summer of next year.
Currently, animal control in Fresno’s city limits is handled by the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has its own shelter and would continue the contracted service until the new shelter is operational.
Brand said the CCSPCA is changing its services, getting out of the animal control portion, so plans are for the new shelter to be run under contract by Fresno Humane Animal Services.
“None of this would have been possible without the collaboration and support of The Gap,” Brand said, adding that the company has been a great corporate partner for the city, which has included relocating its West Coast fulfillment center to its Fresno facility in 2018, resulting in 500 new jobs here so far and 500 more expected in the near future.
“The Gap’s generous offer shows the importance of their investment and the depths of their concern in our community.”
That generosity didn’t stop with selling a parcel to the city. Brand also announced that Gap also is donating six acres on the same parcel to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno.
But there are no plans to build a new club on the site. In fact, Boy & Girls Clubs of Fresno CEO Diane Carbray said no decision has been made on what to do with the donated land, while Brand said the donation will bring ongoing financial stability to the Boys & Girls Clubs.