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Fresno Bar Is First To Go On California High Speed Rail

Ezra David Romero
Valley Public Radio

The jaws of a giant excavator tore through what was the old Annie’s Hollywood Inn bar in West Fresno Monday morning.

“The excavator right there is going to hit the back of that building and because it’s so small it’s not going to take long; probably if we blink it’ll be down in five minutes,” says Jill Kroeker with J. Kroeker Inc.

Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio
Valley Public Radio
Diana Gomez is the Central Valley Regional Director the California High Speed Rail project.

The demolition of the 66-year-old bar is the first of many to be reduced to smithereens as part of construction along the first 29 mile segment of California High Speed Rail.

“We’ll be demolishing up to five buildings this week. We’ve acquired over 40 parcels. We’re clearing the right away so they can start construction,” says Diana Gomez is the Central Valley regional director for the rail authority.

Three homes, the old Horn Photo building, and the former Del Monte packinghouse are supposed to come down as well.

“They’re gonna knock it all down until the buildings all collapsed on itself, it’ll be loaded up onto a truck and then it’ll be taken to a landfill where it’ll mostly be recycled,” Kroeker says.

And then press repeat. Kroeker’s company is contracted out for all the demolition along the Fresno-Madera Corridor.

“Are you excited that is like the first piece of high speed rail?” “It actually feels kind of surreal,” Kroeker says. We’ve waited so long to do this and we’ve been to so many meetings and been around so many tables it’s exciting to get our boots on the ground and get going.”

Kroeker hopes high speed rail keeps her busy for the next two years.  

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.
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