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A new Fresno mural points to the future arrival of High Speed Rail in downtown

The new mural depicts the future of the Fresno Station and commemorates the city's historic Chinatown.
California High Speed Rail Authority
The new mural depicts the future of the Fresno Station and commemorates the city's historic Chinatown.

FRESNO, Calif. – A new mural has joined the mosaic of vibrant paintings in Chinatown as part of an effort to prepare the area for one of the first stops being built for the long awaited California High Speed Rail.

The Fresno Arts Council and the High Speed Rail Authority commissioned local artist Mauro Carrera to paint the mural on the corner of Tulare Street and Chinatown Alley.

The painting depicts the bullet train along a multi-toned pavement in front of the Fresno skyline. In the background, numerous northern Central Valley counties are outlined to depict the areas of construction.

In the upper-right section of the mural, a traditional Chinese dragon flies above the counties. Carrera says it was important to him to commemorate some of the neighborhood’s cultural history in the painting.

“A neighborhood like this really lends itself to people, individuals, groups that want to produce cultural projects and embrace that part of our social fabric,” Carrera said.

Plans for the grand 800-mile bullet train were set in 2008 under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the last decade, construction on the rail has been delayed on numerous occasions.

But with steady funding and finalized contracts, construction on the rail began in 2015. A portion totaling 119 miles of the high speed rail is expected to be completed in the Valley by 2030.

Tom Richards, the chair of the HSR Board of Directors says he is confident the train will strengthen Central Valley communities, especially Fresno.

“The station is going to help bring economic vitality and growth to Chinatown [and] to downtown Fresno,” Richards said.

According to the rail authority, the project has more than 30 active sites in the Central Valley and has created nearly 10,000 construction jobs throughout California. City of Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer says the work in the city has only just begun.

“We are a city on the move. We're making progress in so many ways,” Dyer said. “The high speed rail is one of those. A very, very important one.”

This story is part of the Central Valley News Collaborative, which is supported by the Central Valley Community Foundation with technology and training support by Microsoft Corp.

Esther Quintanilla reports on diverse communities for KVPR through the Central Valley News Collaborative, which includes The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, KVPR and Radio Bilingüe.