Mayor Jerry Dyer walking through a "tunnel" comprised of local community groups during his first State of the City address as Fresno mayor.
Written by Frank Lopez
Mayor Jerry Dyer gave Fresno’s State of the City address this morning at Chukchansi Park, focusing efforts to make Fresno cleaner, safer and “homeless free.”
“We are a city that is poised for greatness,” Dyer said. “This past year has been challenging for all of us.”
Dyer said that he is listening to the concerns of Fresno citizens—issues regarding housing and homelessness, unifying the city, focusing on inclusive economic development, restoring downtown Fresno, supporting the youth, and community safety.
“If we are to become a great city, we must set aside our differences and focus on those things that unite us,” Dyer said.
Dyer touted the initiation of Project Offramp, which aims to relocate homeless individuals and families from freeway campgrounds and housing them in refurbished motel and hotel rooms.
Dyer mentioned multi-year state funding and with the city’s current strategies and partnerships, and said that the city is poised to be “homeless free” by the end of 2024.
He also highlighted the Beautify Fresno project, and said that since its launch, a total of 42,000 pounds of trash and 7,500 square feet of graffiti has been removed in the city through 45 clean up events and with the help of over 4,100 volunteers.
Over 300 trees have been planted throughout the project.
In regards to downtown revitalization, Dyer mention the ongoing construction of 106 units in the downtown area, with about 300 ready to break ground and with 400 in approval stages.
Dyer said the city is committing to hire 120 new police officers and 40 more support staff for the city’s police department, as well as adding 42 new firefighters to the Fresno Fire Department by May 2022.
During his closing remarks, he spoke about the expansion of the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport, city tax revenue, and water production for Fresno.
“I am humbled and honored to serve as the mayor of this city. As your mayor, I promise to serve you well and do all I can to unite this city as One Fresno,” Dyer said.
Dyer also handed out awards to influential community leaders.
This year’s Key To the City was awarded to the late Bob Smittcamp, a prominent Central Valley businessman and philanthropist, and former CEO of food products company Lyons Magnus, who passed away this March.
“Though Bob is no longer with us, his contribution to this city and his enormous legacy will live on,” Dyer said.
Dyer also presented the inaugural Heart of Service Award to Oliver Baines III for his work as a city council member, and the founding of Valley Apprentice Connections, a program that helps men and women from underserved neighborhoods to prepare them for careers in construction. He was also awarded for his work with community police reform.
An inaugural “One Fresno” award was given to Pastor B.T. Lewis of the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church for his role community bridge building and helping people with family focus plans of ministry.
The State of the City included involvement from Fresno Chamber of Commerce, with performances from Teocalli Cultural Academy, Saint Rest Baptist Church Choir and the Polynesian Club of Fresno.