SACRAMENTO (AP) — Backhoes have begun digging up a parking lot in downtown Fresno in search of an underground network of tunnels and other artifacts from the Chinatown neighborhood that lies in the path of California’s planned high-speed rail line.
Surveyors began the search for decades-old artifacts on Monday.
Community groups say that a network of tunnels that linked businesses, residences, gambling halls and houses of prostitution are a critically important piece of the city’s cultural history.
Kathy Omachi, founder of the group Chinatown Revitalization, disputes an archaeological report by the California High-Speed Rail Authority that casts doubt on whether the tunnels exist. She says she has been taking groups on tours of the tunnels for years.
The once-bustling Chinatown was home to nearly a dozen ethnic communities, including African-Americans, Armenians and Greeks.