Sunday , June 23 2024

Newly Discovered Tunnel Could Fall Victim of High-Speed Rail

There are new concerns Thursday night that a newly discovered tunnel in the Chinatown District of downtown Fresno could fall victim to the California High-Speed Rail. Chinatown Revitalization is a local non-profit organization aimed at preserving Chinatown’s history. The group said they have received pictures that show there is a new tunnel underneath the demolished Del Monte building. Chinatown Revitalization said the tunnel is more proof of the historical importance of the area.

As the old Del Monte building off Kern and G Streets in downtown Fresno- so does hope for Kathy Omachi, the vice president of Chinatown Revitalization.

Omachi said, “If we don’t fight for it, it’s not going to exist anymore.”

Chinatown Revitalization believes there are tunnels underneath the streets of Chinatown. The group said they just learned of a new tunnel underneath the crumbling Del Monte building.

“We were given photos about a week ago,” said Omachi, in regards to a few photos that allegedly show a tunnel in between Tulare and Kern on G Street.

Omachi admits she hasn’t been in the new tunnel herself, but claims there are many other tunnels across the Chinatown area that hold historical significance.

She said, “What some of the tunnels did is that they connected, cross the streets and down the streets so you could move merchandise, you could move people, there were different people who lived down because it was much cooler.”

High-Speed Rail said what is under the Del Monte building is not a tunnel, rather a conveyance system built around 1906. Official said raisins used to be transported on a conveyor belt from one part of the Del Monte building to another, and it was never meant for people to walk through.

“We understand the historical significance of the Fresno Chinatown area and are working diligently to ensure our project moves forward in a way that preserves the rich culture of Chinatown,” said Information Officer Elizabeth Jonasson, for CA High-Speed Rail Authority. “We are aware of the underground conveyance system located at the Del Monte demolition site and we have documented it during our archeological investigations.”

But Omachi said she isn’t so sure.

Omachi shared, “This network existed. It had a use, and it’s the kind of touchable history that when it’s gone, it’s gone. You can never recoup it.”

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