When parents pack school cafeterias it usually means they're upset about education. At Fresno's Lowell Elementary School, quite the contrary.
Mayor Ashley Swearengin and other city leaders joined a community meeting Monday night. They received praise from residents, and then they sent it right back.
Over the last few years community members have come together to improve their neighborhood. Regular meetings and open communication with elected leaders has helped them revitalize Lowell.
Blighted houses are cited as the main reason for a downturn. When the housing economy tanked, many homeowners and banks let properties fall into disrepair.
City councilmembers say they've focused on enforcing existing ordinances to get homeowners to shape up. Officials also say, progress would not have been possible without the residents coming together.
Since neighbors have taken ownership, test scores at Lowell Elementary have gone up, a vibrant community garden was built, and streets are, both literally and figuratively, cleaner.
The Mayor says Lowell is an excellent example of infill development. Their sucess story is not going un-noticed by city leaders who are weighing outward expansion, or developing communities within Fresno's existing boundaries as a model for growth.