Work crews used a crane Tuesday to move the 7,000-pound clock at the Fulton Street Mall from its base in the intersection of Fulton and Mariposa streets 40 feet to a nearby corner so the intersection can be opened to vehicle traffic.
Written by David Castellon
After 14 months of construction to restore Fulton Street, city officials say they are planning a grand opening celebration Oct. 21.
But before that happens, four of the mall’s six blocks are expected to be opened to pedestrian and vehicle traffic in August, said Randall Morrison, Fresno’s assistant director of public works.
City officials said the mall renovations are divided into three two-block sections, or “super blocks.”
The super blocks on the north end, between Tuolumne and Fresno streets, and on the south end, between Fresno and Tulare streets, will be the first completed areas of the street.
Exactly when in August those four blocks will open wasn’t disclosed to reporters gathered Tuesday to watch a large crane move the 60-foot-tall mall clock tower from its base at the intersection of Fulton and Mariposa streets about 40 feet to its new base on the southwest corner, so the intersection can be opened up to vehicle traffic.
As for the central two blocks of the mall, work on them will continue after the north and south ends open. Work is expected to be done ahead of the grand opening event in October.
Mayor Lee Brand has announced that event will include a parade.
When ground broke on the renovations to the mall in March of last year, expectations were that work would be done by May or early June of this year.
Heavy rain during the winter caused about a two-month delay, said Mark Standriff, a city spokesman, as did “unexpected things” discovered underground during the street and sidewalk work not disclosed in the plans when crews laid out the mall in 1964.
In particular, digging crews uncovered a dozen to two dozen basements or foundations to buildings — some of which no longer exist — extending under the sidewalk and streets.
“It’s lucky some of these didn’t collapse over time,” Morrison said, noting one basement belonged to a hotel that burned down decades ago, and the site was built over, while a basement was found extending from under the mall’s CVS Pharmacy, a remnant from the building that stood there before the store was built.