Bakersfield is pursuing hundreds of thousands in authorities grants to “remodel” Kern’s previous city, close by communities Information

Fresno has received $ 66.5 million. The Watts neighborhoods in Los Angeles and Ontario each received $ 33 million. Now the city of Bakersfield is hoping to next be able to get a competitive government grant that seeks to turn some of the most neglected and polluted parts of the state into shining examples of what California can be.

The Transformative Climate Communities program has only been around for a few years, but it is helping fuel change in some cities across the state. Their goal is to enable neglected communities to choose projects that will best address the problems that have held them back for decades.

“This is actually quite a unique program in that it brings together a number of different types of investments and allows the community to choose the investment priorities that they need,” said Louise Bedsworth, executive director of the California Strategic Growth Council that administers the grant program. “There aren’t any other programs like this in California, and I don’t think many other states have a program like TCC.”

Bakersfield has already received a $ 200,000 engineering grant to help develop a comprehensive $ million strategy. The city has selected the districts of Old Town Kern, Oleander / Sunset and Lakeview as destinations for possible improvements.

With 83,000 residents in some of the “most deprived census areas in the state,” the city views the TCC as something that could transform the area.

“It really is the state’s way of investing in communities and one way we can help meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals and also target a community and make public investment that really give it a boost, “said Cecilia Griego, director of planners for the city’s economic and community development department. “We really thought it would make sense to apply for TCC funding to support our downtown investments.”

The TCC provides funding for affordable housing, active transportation, urban greening, and staff development, which means sidewalks, bike paths, and even an expansion of Mill Creek Park south of Brundage Lane could be in the works if the city receives government funding.

“People will walk more and use their bikes more,” said Emma De La Rosa, an advocate for the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability, which helps the city out with public relations. “Ideally there will be more urban greenery, more bus stops that would allow people to use public transport even on the hottest days of the year. So when you think of those cities that come to mind when we think of walk-through communities, it can change the area. “

A draft plan has already been developed, but the city is currently receiving feedback from the municipality on projects to be included in a future revision of the plan.

“If you create positive environments, positive behavior will follow,” said De La Rosa.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put TCC grants on hold, the state hopes to resume funding soon. In the meantime, the city can use its new plan to pursue other funding sources.

City officials are particularly keen to hear from residents of the focus area. Those wishing to comment can visit the plan’s website at https://bakersfieldtccplan.org/. Public comments are accepted until the end of February.

You can reach us on Saturday morning at 661-395-7415. You can also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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