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Signs Of Recovery: In Fresno, A Closed Community Center Finds New Life

Jun 24, 2015

A free public science education center is officially open in Northwest Fresno. The Highway City Science Center is moving into a community center that has been closed for 5 years since deep Recession era budget cuts.

The center is moving into one of the most underserved areas of Fresno off highway 99 in an area known as Highway City.

It will host science programing for children and adults, such as a fully assembled whale skeleton and electrical workshop.

Manuel Hernandez with the Fresno Parks Department says the center is a huge boost to the area.

“We are here. We are open now. This community is going to thrive. They have no idea what we just started. This is just the beginning of a grander thing that’s going to happen here,” Hernandez said.

Formerly the Highway City Community Center, the building has been closed since 2010, the victim of budget cuts.

Many other community centers and parks were taken over by local non-profits, but no one stepped up to take over the Highway City Community Center.

The Science center had been stationed in an old trailer near the Manchester Center, limiting its reach and programing.

Hernandez, who was a driving force behind saving the program, says he hopes to turn he center into a city wide attraction.

“It is going to make this a stop from people coming from south and north to stop off the highway and come see what we are doing,” Hernandez said.

The funding for the program now comes mostly from grants and contracts with local schools in addition to some city spending.

The center is open Tuesday-Friday from 2-6 pm. Hernandez says they will also do special programing.