BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After months of deliberation, community input, assessments and an analysis of potential sites, the Bakersfield City Council votes to purchase the Calcot Limited facility as the new homeless shelter.
The vote was 4-3 in favor of purchasing the Calcot property. Councilmembers Chris Parlier, Willie Rivera, and Jacquie Sullivan voted against the purchase of the property.
"We know that we need a facility that can be available for this city as the homelessness crisis continues to grow, so that Calcot facility was approved tonight for the purchase." said Councilmember Andrae Gonzales.
The Calcot property is located in councilmember Willie Rivera's ward at 1900 East Brundage Lane. According to the city, it's a 7.42 acres office complex with 34,832 sq-ft of office space and an additional 34,975 sq-ft of warehouse space. The city says the property has the potential to grow after three years from 150 beds to 450 beds and allows for an all-inclusive shelter.
The City also considered another location located on 601 Brown Street, but said space was limited. Brown Street is only 1.89 acres with 9,500 sq-ft of office space and 22,800 sq-ft of warehouse space. They say the potential for growth is limited and that the site is located across the street from a residential area. The Brown Street property is also located in councilmember Andrae Gonzales's ward which already has the Bakersfield Homeless Center and the Mission At Kern County.
The council also unanimously approved a motion directing staff to develop neighborhood improvement plans for the areas surrounding the Calcot location and the area around the Kern County homeless shelter project.
Gonzlaes said throughout the city's community meetings they heard from residents who were concerned about the lack of infrastructure investments in the neighborhoods that were being considered for the low-barrier shelter.
"We need to get every single neighborhood up to Bakersfield standards," said Gonzales. "It's important for us, as we've heard from the community, for us to make those investments."
They also voted to direct staff to develop an agreement with the county on a partnership for that location that includes a $500,000 contribution to the county, which is renewable by the city council annually.
"This isn't the end of the conversation. it's only the beginning and we want to continue to hear from those residents and property owners surrounding the Calcot facility and continue to get that feedback so that we can make this project the best possible for all parties involved," said Gonzales.