City leaders host community workshops to gather input for funding projects


Millions of dollars are available to spend on improving the city and now leaders need your help in choosing the right projects to fund.

The future of Bakersfield is now in the hands of the public.  Officials are hosting a series of workshops that will help reshape several neighborhoods. The city is focused on providing decent affordable housing, homelessness, community and economic development needs for the next year.

The city anticipates receiving about $4 million dollars as part of its five-year- consolidated plan, and the input they get from the community will help decided which project gets funded.

Victoria Golden has a few ideas of how to improve the Bakersfield community.

"I believe it should go for the low-income disabled people.  The area of transportation is not functional and they can't use it regularly for daily use," she said.

Golden wants to make sure her voice is heard as she takes part in the first community workshop on the city's community development block grant program and other HUD-funded projects.

"I know that they need the input.  They are not aware of where the funds or where they can use the money at,” said Golden.

Input gathered from the meetings will help city officials identify and set priorities for the allocation of HUD-funding in the five-year consolidated plan.

"Making sure that we include the community about the needs of the homeless, it's a very serious issue and we want to help address that, just public safety is another one making sure we're doing it in a way that it’s going to make the community as safe as it could be," said Douglas McIsaac, community development director for the City of Bakersfield.

The city anticipates getting an estimated amount of four-million dollars from the federal government.

"We want to spend that money in the best way possible," he said.

In years past, money from the same grant was used on building the Planz Skate Park and even the gym at the Martin Luther King Junior Community Center.

"If we can improve the physical condition of the neighborhoods, hopefully that can help bring up property values and pride,” he said.

Money has also been put into several neighborhood streets, gutters and new housing. This next round of funds will continue honoring the needs of the community.

"We also have an economic development strategy that we're working on where we have 5 economic opportunity areas that we have identified and they are in the mostly economic challenged parts of the city so all that is, we want to improve every part of Bakersfield," said McIsaac.

The final plan has to be approved by the Bakersfield City Council and then submitted before its May deadline.                

The next community input meeting is planned for November.


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