The Tower District's namesake theater is being sold, and we have some thoughts.
The Tower District is a well-known cultural arts and entertainment district in Fresno. We love the Tower District's vibe, and were very intentional about opening a community hackerspace here in 2017. Tower's culture was a great fit for the kind of space we wanted to build: lively and bohemian, inclusive, accepting, and non-judgemental. Tower residents and businesses take great pride in being part of this community, and the energy and culture in the Tower District is unparalleled anywhere in the City of Fresno.
The Tower Theatre is now being sold to a local church in a move that is widely regarded as antithetical to Tower's culture and harmful to our small businesses. Among the many problems that arise from this, it runs afoul of zoning laws, will impede local post-COVID economic recovery, and has been carried out in near secret with zero involvement from the community at large.
Root Access is more than just a building with some 3D printers and sewing machines – we are a community of hackers, crafters, makers, and artists. We have been actively involved in ArtHop, have hosted multiple music shows, and our space is filled with all kinds of art created by our members and other folks in the community.
What affects the Tower District's arts scene, culture, and economy affects us. This sale will have a direct impact on our ability to support our members, serve the community, and execute on our mission as a community hackerspace.
We stand with the Tower community in opposing this, and support any efforts to ensure that Tower Theatre remains the heart of the Tower District.
While we can appreciate the church's desire to participate in our community, the Tower Theatre is not an appropriate venue. We welcome and encourage them to find a more suitable location within the Tower District.
On Tuesday, January 6th, our Board of Directors submitted a letter of opposition to Fresno City Councilmembers Esmeralda Soria (District 1) and Miguel Arias (District 3), as well as the Tower District Specific Plan Committee.
The community will hold a peaceful gathering this Sunday, January 10th, at 8:00am in front of Tower Theatre. Please join us if you are able, and be sure to wear a mask.
Finally, check out Save the Tower Theatre on Facebook for more information on community efforts to organize.