Implementation of the SC2 pilot initiative in Fresno began in September 2011, after an initial planning and assessment period earlier in the year. The team began with a broad mandate to support Fresno in addressing 10 local priorities identified during the planning process with the city. The priorities focused on addressing Fresno’s major opportunities for downtown revitalization, economic development (value-added food sector and development of an Ag Tech Economic Cluster), transportation (high-speed rail and bus rapid transit), neighborhood revitalization, and housing.
This profile summarizes the first 18 months of the SC2 pilot in Memphis, from September 2011 through March 2013. The profile describes the local context, membership of the SC2 team, the local stakeholders the team worked with, how the team worked, and the activities and accomplishments to which the team contributed.
Fresno is a Central California city of approximately 500,000. While many objective measures point to the city’s distress, including concentrated poverty, structural unemployment, high vacancy rates, and disinvestment in the city’s core, Fresno is undeniably a city on the rise. Under the leadership of the mayor, Fresno has identified a vision for its future and is taking important steps to achieve this vision. City staff are focusing their efforts on downtown revitalization, smart growth strategies, and neighborhood revitalization. They have placed a heavy emphasis on regional development and collaboration with the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.
The SC2 team in Fresno demonstrated a number of the goals of the SC2 initiative. The SC2 team as a whole helped to move projects at a faster pace than would have happened otherwise and also helped to navigate certain barriers and provide expertise relevant to members’ federal agencies. The SC2 team made great gains in encouraging regional collaboration through their work on the transportation networks and the regional food system. They were also successful in partnering for economic growth through their coordinated efforts to revitalize the Fulton Mall. The team also enhanced local capacity by directing the city to grant opportunities and expediting federal responses to local concerns. Stakeholders in the Fresno pilot agree that one of the primary reasons for its success is the city’s strong leadership and clear vision for the future, coupled with the proactive nature of the SC2 team in work planning and coordination throughout the pilot.