It’s a great place to visit but….

  • Scott Karl, Scott Karl Economic & Insurance Services, Chamber Ambassador

I bet you’ve heard the cliché, “It’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there” a few times at a cocktail party or around the office water cooler and shared that sentiment when it comes to our own fair city.

Unfortunately, all too often, we listen to national nightly news or read magazine articles that are designed to entertain people or spread gossip, and we find ourselves getting fired up about issues we cannot control.   It’s easy to start believing that your city, no matter where you live,  is number 94 out of 100 worst areas to raise a family and have your car stolen, that it has the most meth labs, gangs and drunks, that it is one of the hottest places in the country, perhaps it’s the coldest. You get the picture. 

Regrettably, every community has its fair share of odd human behavior.  I personally would like to meet the person who visited every city in this vast country of ours in order to take a count of these incidents. 

In reality Fresno is a great, beautiful place to live, raise a family and make a nice living without the crazy traffic and costs that residents of similarly populated cities must endure.  I’m sure that I’m probably preaching to the choir when I say it’s nice to be only two and a half hours from the beach, an hour and a half from ski resorts and close to some of the world’s most amazing National Parks. 

Being born in Fresno in 1959, I remember riding my bicycle frequently to Downtown Fresno from my home near Cedar Lanes Bowling Alley and sometimes riding the bus with my grandparents to the Fulton Mall. We would pass by many old landmark buildings that are still standing today.  These structures were once truly modern buildings, yet they have a unique and magical style to them that you don’t see much anymore. 

I recently had a chance to visit the refurbished Fresno City College administration building where my grandfather worked as a janitor for over 35 years. What an incredible job the construction company did to preserve the original architecture! At one time, there was discussion of demolishing what some considered to be “just an old building.” But now, refurbished and brought back to its old glory, it looks like something out of a Hollywood Movie scene.

I’m not an expert in building codes but I would guess there would be major road blocks to overcome with today’s regulations, red tape and associated costs to keep original pillars and outside molding intact on a 100 year old building. Keeping costs reasonable so that the tenants of these buildings can be profitable is undoubtedly a major challenge. This leads me to why I’m a proud member of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Committee.

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Staff and its Ambassador volunteers help bring awareness to issues that affect our community, like preserving these one of kind historic buildings throughout our great city.  The Chamber is made up of like minded people that come together to speak with one voice, advocating preservation of our area’s natural beauty and landmarks while balancing the need to create a business friendly atmosphere where one can achieve the American dream. 

Next time you’re walking out the doors of the Fresno Yosemite Airport or driving home from a distant City, I hope you’ll think of some of the landmarks and assets of the Central Valley and change that old previously referenced cliché, instead saying, “That was a nice place to visit… but it’s really good to be back home”

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