We have a regional perspective of connectivity.
The Office of Community & Economic Development at Fresno State connects the University to the community throughout the eight counties of the San Joaquin Valley. We connect the community to the resources of Fresno State, through data, research, industry insights, and connections to collaborators, investors, researchers, affiliates, and new markets.
We administer the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center, San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative, San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, and the Community and Regional Planning Center located on the Fresno State campus.
We have a history of collaboration with numerous partners, both on the Fresno State campus, in Fresno and its surrounding communities, and across the San Joaquin Valley. Each partner is committed to this region and contributes to the effort for aligning economic development strategies and maximizing regional impact.
Our partners are both public and private sector and for profit and nonprofit. Click on Partners for full lists of Community Partners and University Partners.
Our university is Fresno State. Our community is Fresno and the expanse of the San Joaquin Valley.
We would appreciate the opportunity to introduce ourselves in person and discuss how Fresno State can connect with your organization.
The Office of Community and Economic Development was established in August 2000.
News and Events
10/2/16 OCED participates in Fresno's CenCalVia
On Sunday, October 2, the Fresno Bicycle Coalition in partnership with Cultiva La Salud, Central Valley Community Foundation, and Bici Projects hosted CenCalVia - Open Streets Fresno, the Central Valley's first Ciclovia. From 11am to 3pm, a one mile stretch on Ventura Street from First to Cedar Avenue in Fresno was closed to cars and open to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The goal of CenCalVia was to "stimulate the local economy, help change the narrative of Fresno, and engage the community," according to the event's website. Over 50 cities in the U.S. have turned commercial streets into temporary "parks" as part of the Open Streets movement. Fresno joined this growing list as residents of all ages were invited to bike, walk, skate, do yoga, Zumba, hula hooping, bicycle safety and repair, and martial arts along the street and sidewalks without car traffic.
OCED was excited to join the movement with a parklet demonstration. The parklet was located on Cedar and 8th Street next to the Wings booth in front of JK Furniture. Many visitors took a seat at OCED's parklet while filling out an event survey, stopping to enjoy event food, or simply taking a rest. Nearly 400 surveys were taken, which means over 400 visitors saw the parklet demonstration.
9/27/16 #Parks4All Mayoral Candidate Forum
A community-led #Parks4All Mayoral Candidate Forum was held at Parc Grove Commons Community Room on Tuesday, September 27.
The non-partisan forum was hosted by Fresno Building Healthy Communities, Communities of a New California Education Fund, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, League of Women Voters Fresno, OCED, Fresno State's Department of Recreation Administration, and The Trust for Public Land. The purpose of the forum was to give Fresno voters the opportunity to address issues in this election and ask questions directly to mayoral candidates about their visions of parks, recreation, open spaces, and community health.
The forum was free and opened to the public. Nearly 150 people were in attendance, including several Recreation Administration students from Fresno State.
Many of the questions were about the Parks Master Plan update process, a plan that has not been updated since 1989. Dr. Venise Curry of Communities for a New California Education Fund raised a question about air quality issues and children, and the need for more parks to mitigate several health issues linked.
Other questions were asked by grandmothers and young community members. Questions focused on the quality of parks in Fresno and the increasing crime they are seeing in their communities. They proposed more, higher quality parks and greater opportunities for youth to be involved in leading recreation programming activities.
9/22/16 OCED Co-hosts PARK(ing) Day
On the 3rd Friday of September each year, artists and citizens around the globe temporarily transform metered parking spaces into mini parks as part of the annual event called "PARK(ing) Day."
PARK(ing) Day was originally invented in 2005 by a San Francisco-based art and design studio as a way to challenge people to rethink and re-imagine the way streets are used.
Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a worldwide grassroots movement, with participation from more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents.
Though a few days late, City of Fresno observed its first PARK(ing) Day on Thursday, September 22 from 10am to 2pm by transforming metered parking spaces in front of City Hall into a mini park, otherwise known as a "parklet."
Visitors who attended observed enlivened parking spaces with green turf, brightly colored bistro tables, and movable planters.
During the parklet demonstration there were other events taking place at City Hall. Inside, a city council meeting featured discussions on capital improvement projects and solar panel installations in historic districts. Outside, many first responders, council members, and City of Fresno employees gathered on the front lawn of City Hall for a BBQ fundraiser for wounder correctional officers, Juanita Davila and Toamalama Scanlan.
Many folks stopped by to view the parklet demonstration before and during the concurring events. Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Chief of Police Jerry Dyer stopped by the demonstration and talked with the team who planned and implemented the parklet.
Attendees were able to provide feedback about the parklet experience on a large notepad on site. A majority of participants had never seen a parklet before; a few who have seen parklets before, listed San Francisco and Oakland as the cities in which they've seen parklets. Almost all participants said they'd like to see parklets in Fresno.
- "Parklets rock! Green is Good! Need green everywhere we can!"
- "Yes, anything new is good for the City of Fresno to help our town build and be a better place to live."
- "Yes, love eating outdoors in the shade!"
- Yes, I'd like to see many!"
The City Hall parklet demonstration was co-sponsored by City of Fresno Development and Resources Management Department and Public Works, with support from OCED, Downtown Fresno Partnership, and Gazebo Gardens Nursery.
What's a parklet?
A parklet is a sidewalk extension that uses non-permanent materials to provide more space and amenities for people using the street. Parklets are usually on parking lanes and use several parking spaces.
Parklets typically feature seating, lighting, bike parking, art, and landscaping. They are intended as aesthetic enhancements to the streetscape and right of way, providing a solution to the need for more public open space.
While parklets in other cities are funded and maintained by neighboring businesses, residents, and community based organizations, they are publicly accessible and open to all.
San Francisco launched the world's first parklet program in 2010. Since then, several cities have moved to establish similar programs; notably, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Jose, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, and Morro Bay.
On May 14-15 this year, the City of Clovis hosted "Talking it to the Streets", a design festival that featured 13 parklets. The City of Fresno hosted a parklet at the festival in partnership with OCED and Downtown Fresno Partnership.
7/27/16 OCED Takes Part in Ag Tech Summit
(Far right) Fresno State SBDC Director, Eduardo Gonzalez represented OCED on a panel at an Ag Tech summit in Fresno on July 27. The event, "Riding the Crest of the 'Third Wave' in the Food Capital of the World", brought together leaders in agribusiness, technology, financial and higher education to take part in a strategic discussion and workshop on the topic of bringing together agribusiness and technology in the Valley. Eduardo was part of the "Tech and Agribusiness in the San Joaquin Valley - Are We There Yet?" panel that focused on how the San Joaquin Valley should position itself as a leader.
5/14/16 OCED 'Takes it To the Streets'
The City of Clovis hosted the Taking it To the Streets: Urban Design Festival on May 14-15, 2016 in Old Town Clovis. As a first-of-its-kind festival in the Fresno area, the City of Clovis aimed at creating interactive places by utilizing parking spaces -- known as parklets.
A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. Parklets are usually installed on parking lanes and use several parking spaces. Parklets typically extend out from the sidewalk at the level of the sidewalk to the width of the adjacent parking space. Examples of amenities: seats, tables, bike racks, and landscaping.
Nearly 15 parking spaces were turned into parklets for the two-day festival, featuring the City of Clovis, City of Fresno, Clovis High School, CART, and several architectural and engineering firms.
OCED participated in the festival in collaboration with the City of Fresno and Downtown Fresno Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing the downtown business district. In the 8 x 20 foot parking space, the group designed a parklet that celebrated the authentic urban environment in Downtown Fresno.
Pallets were painted to abstractly represent iconic Downtown Fresno buildings -- Bank of Italy, Del Webb Building, Grand 1401, Fresno Brewing Company, T.W. Patterson, and Pacific Southwest/Security Bank Building.
Local business Propagation Station showcased succulent vertical gardens within the pallets. Willow Gardens Nursery donated water-wise and drought tolerant plants and arranged them in wooden crate planters.
This was OCED's 6th parklet demonstration. OCED launched PARKhop in December 2015 -- a temporary parklet demonstration during Downtown Fresno's monthly ArtHop on the first Thursday of the month.
5/12/16 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit
On Thursday, May 12, 2016, OCED and the Department of Recreation Administration co-hosted the 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit in Downtown Fresno.
The Summit received support from the California Park and Recreation Society (District 7), Trust for Public Land, Miracle Play Systems, Precision Civil Engineering, My Bark Co., and Northern California Community Loan Fund.
The objective of the inaugural event was to understand the complexity of park development and its links to other issues such as, planning, economic development, health, and sustainability.
The Summit brought together park and recreation professionals, economic and community developers, city and regional planners, health professionals, and community-based organizations. Nearly 170 people from across the San Joaquin Valley were in attendance.
Stephanie Stephens, Executive Director of the California Park and Recreation Society provided opening remarks about the Park and Recreation Profession in 2016. She spoke positively about the growing opportunities and support for park and recreation professionals across the state and nation.
The Opening Plenary, State of Parks: Nation, State, and San Joaquin Valley, featured Gina Fromer-California Sate Director, Trust for Public Land, Jean Lacher -- Grants and Local Services Office Chief, California State Parks, and Michael McCormick -- Senior Planner, Governor's Office of Planning and Research.
Education sessions throughout the day featured panels that explored components of park development, current park conditions, diversity of existing funding, and strategic opportunities:
- Land-Use and Park Planning
- Healthy Parks, Healthy People, Healthy Communities
- Funding Park Acquisition and Maintenance
- Parks and Economic Development
- Citizen Engagement and Advocacy
- Parks Are Green Infrastructure: A Valley of Resiliency
Panelists represented a mix of local, regional, and statewide organizations, companies, and firms, including: Quad Knopf, Granville Homes, TFS Investments, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Precision Civil Engineering, Tree Fresno, San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation, The Praxis Project, Economic & Planning Systems, The City Project, Fresno Housing Authority, Building Healthy Communities -- California Endowment.
Lori Clanton of Fresno Mindfulness Walks provided the lunch Keynote Address. Fresno Mindfulness Walks are weekly walks through a wide variety of neighborhoods throughout Fresno. The task: breathe, walk, and observe. Lori's presentation featured dozens of images of Fresno neighborhoods, showing the levels of accessbility to parks and open space throughout the city.
Students and faculty were on site with poster boards of semester projects from the Sustainable Park and Recreation Community Initiative (SPARCI) -- a partnership between the University and park and recreation agencies in the Valley. During Spring 2016, Fresno State launched SPARCI through a new partnership with the City of Fresno Department of Parks, After School, Recreation, and Community Services. Over 235 students and 13 faculty participated in the pilot semester.
Projects fell under three categories: parks, urban landscape, and trails; community programming and program development; and management, marketing, and research.
The Parks Summit is part one of a three-part series, with a Recreation Summit and a Facilities Summit planned for 2017 and 2018.
5/5/16 2nd Annual President's Showcase of Excellence
OCED participated in the 2nd annual President's Showcase of Excellence on May 5. The showcase featured a poster exhibit and remarks form President Castro. OCED showcased seven exhibit posters: California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center, Central Valley AgPLUS Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium, San Joaquin Valley Regional Industry Clusters Initiative, San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, Community and Regional Planning Center, and Fresno State Parent University.
5/3/16 OCED Co-Hosts Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities Program Workshops
On May 3-4, 2016, OCED co-hosted two Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program workshops. One workshop was in Visalia ("South Valley") and the second was in Atwater ("North Valley").
These workshops are the first of a 3-part workshop series led by the San Joaquin Valley Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Technical Assistance Team, with additional workshops planned for the summer and fall.
The workshops provided an introduction to the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program with an emphasis on building capacity and fostering relationships for applications in future funding rounds.
Allison Joe, Deputy Director for the Strategic Growth Council and Monica Palmeira, Sustainable Communities Outreach Coordinator for the Strategic Growth Council participated in both workshops as presenters.
The workshops consisted of an introduction to cap-and-trade and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, an overview of and detailed look into the AHSC Program, interactive group discussions about AHSC on the community level, and discussion about available resources for competitive applications.
Over 60 participants from throughout the Valley were in attendence.
About the SJV Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Technical Assistance Team:
In January 2016, the Strategic Growth Council awarded the San Joaquin Valley-based technical assistance team to assist eligible Valley communities in applying for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program funding through the State's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
The technical assistance team consists of representatives from the San Joaquin Council of Governments, Fresno Council of Governments, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, California Coalition for Rural Housing, Sigala, Inc., and OCED.
The intent of the technical assistance program is to (1) help eligible applicants in applying for Round 2 of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program and to (2) develop capacity building efforts to assist eligible applicants in applying for future rounds of AHSC funding.
The California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) and OCED are leading the AHSC TA Task 4 efforts to build capacity for future AHSC funding cycles. The capacity building efforts include Outreach-activating, engaging, and growing existing networks, and Convenings-bringing people and resources together.
11/5/15 OCED PARKhops Downtown
In partnership with Downtown Fresno Partnership (DFP) and Fresno County Bicycle Coalition, OCED hosted the inaugural PARKhop on Thursday, November 5 in Downtown Fresno.
PARKhop is Fresno's take on the annual event, PARK(ing) Day. Since 2005, cities, artists, and citizens around the globe temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces during the third Friday of September. DFP and OCED are embracing this successful concept and joining forces with the highly anticipated and attended event, ArtHop. Downtown's ArtHop occurs on the first Thursday of each month and is one of the most active and successful art programs in the city.
Two metered parking spaces on Tuolumne and Fulton Streets near Warnor's Theater were transformed into a parklet-a sidewalk extension that provides a place to stop, sit, and rest-and a bicycle corral, bicycle parking. The Parklet and bicycle corral demonstrations were located in front of RAIZANA Tea Company and Misc. Trading Company at 2017 Tuolumne Street.
The parklet was an inviting, distinctive, and engaging space with artificial grass, brightly colored lights, and moveable planters to promote a vibrant human habitat. Visitors enjoyed tea from RAIZANA Tea Company while sitting at the bistro tables. Fresno County Bicycle Coalition's bicycle corral operated as a bike valet for the evening. ArtHop goers were able to safely leave their bikes at the corral to walk around art exhibits. A bicycle corral can hold up to 16 bikes, compared to one car.
By giving focus and physical presence to the energy that exists downtown, the goal of PARKhop is to challenged Fresnans to rethink and to re-imagine the possibilities of the urban landscape. The next PARKhop will take place on Thursday, December 3 from 5-8pm outside Agape Creative Studios at 1612 Fulton, a three-and two-story, mixed-use live/work project by Granville Urban.
7/10/15 Grant-Writing Workshop
Above Ismael Herrera, Associate Director leading a grant-writing workshop in Atwater. In partnership with Merced County and Supervisor Daron McDaniel, OCED hosted a second-grant writing workshop as a follow up to the first in April that sold out. The workshop included information on types of grants, the process of writing them, and how to search and identify funding opportunities.
7/8/15 Water/Energy Savings Workshop
Above OCED, the City of Orange Cove, and the Orange Cove Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a Water/Energy Savings Workshop. The workshop was made possible through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant that provides information for small businesses to learn how to improve, grow, and expand their businesses. Presenters included representatives from Fresno Energy Watch, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, and Economic Development Corporation Serving Fresno County.
5/7/15 Service Learning in Biola
Above In partnership with OCED and the Northern California Loan Fund, Fresno State undergraduate students Frank Holguin and Tou Thao produced a feasibility analysis for construction of ADA compliant features at the Biola Thrift Store, operated by the Biola Community Development Corporation. The analysis was part of a service learning project for their Construction Management 180B course.
Holguin will continue his involvement with the project during the 2015 fall semester where construction of their recommendations will take place at the host facility. Thao will graduate this semester and will apply what he's learned at Fresno State with a general contractor company in Sacramento.