The Maxie L. Parks Community Center in West Fresno has been closed since Sept. 3 due to contaminants found in the building. Fresno Councilmember Miguel Arias announced Monday the city will secure funding to clean up the site.
Before the community center was built in 2007, there was a laundromat on the site, Arias said at a press conference at City Hall. He said the city will spend half a million dollars to address two contaminants in the building associated with the dry cleaning industry.
“There are a lot of unknowns that only public health experts and toxicologists can answer,” Arias said. “That's why we are going to be hosting a community meeting where residents can directly pose those questions.”
Arias said the meeting will be on Zoom and is meant to create transparency with the residents of West Fresno. But Brunette Harris, who is in her 60’s and has lived in West Fresno for nearly 50 years, said she’s worried the community will not be properly represented.
“I have a flip phone, I can’t Zoom nowhere,” Harris said, standing outside of City Hall. “Most people in West Fresno, elderly people, still have their landlines. They don’t have access to none of this stuff that’s going on.”
Still, Arias said the city will provide a week's notice for residents to attend the meeting and voice their concerns. He said the community center is considered low risk but for safety’s sake, it will remain closed.
Yolanda Randles is the executive director of the West Fresno Family Resource Center, which had a location at the community center before the contaminants were discovered. She said some employees expressed symptoms ranging from headaches to issues with menstrual cycles.
“They said it was not at a level that it would cause any health concerns,” Randles said referring to public health officials. “But when you’re working in a facility for more than eight hours a day for the past six or seven years, what does that mean?”
Randles said the resource center will continue to provide services at the Mary Ella Brown Community Center in Southwest Fresno until people can safely return to the Maxie L. Parks Community Center.