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About Fresno

Fresno is the sixth-largest city in California and the county seat of Fresno County, with an official Census Bureau estimated population of 481,035 as of July 1, 2007. It is located in the expansive Central Valley.[1] The city is the cultural and economic center of the Fresno metropolitan area. Following Sacramento Fresno is the second-largest metropolitan area in California's Central Valley with a population of 1,002,284.

Skyline of Fresno, California

Economy

Fresno serves as the economic hub of Fresno County and California’s Central Valley. While the unincorporated area and rural cities surrounding Fresno remain predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production, urban/suburban Fresno has undergone significant economic transformation in recent years.

Agriculture’s decreasing role in the urban economy is reflected in the decreasing reliance on agricultural employment in the County. Currently, just twenty percent of employment results from agriculture, a significant decrease from just 20 years ago. This transformation has led to increased friction between rural and urban interests, as land is converted to non-agricultural use and resources such as water go increasingly to more urban uses such as industry and housing.

The City’s current economy is led by Fresno’s position as the hub for education, healthcare, government and professional services for the Central Valley of California. Construction employment has rapidly expanded as residential and commercial construction underwent a recent prolonged period of expansion. Food processing has led the manufacturing sector with such notable companies as Sun-Maid, David Sunflower Seeds, Kraft Foods, Foster Farms Dairy, and the Foster Farms poultry company. Companies specializing in machinery manufacturing, medical devices and water technology are also present. Distribution has many centers in the city, led by the 80 acre site of the Gap Pacific Distribution Center. Public sector employment is also a major contributor to the city’s economy with the City of Fresno, Fresno Unified School District, the County of Fresno, Community Hospitals and the regional operations center of the Internal Revenue Service as the largest employers.

Geography

Fresno is located at 36°46′54″N, 119°47′32″W (36.781549, -119.792113).GR1

The United States Census Bureau reports Fresno as having a total area of 271.4 km² (104.8 mi²) with 99.58% land covering 270.3 km² (104.4 mi²), and .042% water, 1.1 km² (0.4 mi²).

Fresno's location, very near the geographical centre of California, places the city a comfortable distance from several of the major recreation areas and urban centres in the state. Just 60 mi (100 km) south of Yosemite National Park, it is the nearest major city to the park. Likewise, Kings Canyon National Park is 60 mi (100 km) and Sequoia National Park is 75 mi (120 km).

Because it sits at the junction of Highways 41 and 99 (41 is the park's southern access road, and 99 branches east from Interstate 5 to serve the urban centers of the San Joaquin Valley), the city is a major gateway for visitors coming from Los Angeles. The city also serves as an entrance into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks via Highway 180.

Fresno has three large public parks, two located in the city limits and one in county land to the southwest. Woodward Park, which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens, numerous picnic areas and several miles of trails, is located in North Fresno and is adjacent to the San Joaquin River Parkway. Roeding Park, located near Downtown Fresno, is home to the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, and Rotary Playland and Storyland. Kearney Park is the largest of the Fresno region's park system and is home to historic Kearney Mansion and plays host to the annual Civil War Revisited, the largest reenactment of the Civil War in the west coast of the U.S.[2][3]

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