NewsCovering Kern County


Business call for more lighting and safety downtown

DBA announced their downtown plan Thursday morning
Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-16 09:57:28-05

The Downtown Business Association announced at the State of Downtown breakfast Thursday that they have a plan to clean up the downtown and keep people safe at the same time.

Businesses 23 ABC talked to about the plan tell us, they hope the plan goes to more than just cleaning the trash in the streets, but to the curbs, lighting and safety.

Javer Bautista owns Mi Peru. He said, "I have to spend a lot. My PG&E bill is very high now because I have to put up a lot of lights in my place just to light it up at night."

Thursday the DBA announced their plan to divide the downtown into three zones and have the property owners help fund a $850,000 year project to clean the downtown. DBA representatives say the money will go to cleaning, maintaining and beautifying the streets.

Chuck Arias owns Haunted Comics and Collectables and hopes the money goes to where the DBA says it will. He said, "Any times there is a budget I hope they would use it. I think the city deserves it. But, in reality we've seen it divert in other places. You know what I mean, as far as they'll say it's for this and then use it for something else."

Two years ago the DBA worked on a similar project to get funding for more lights downtown. DBA liaison, Cathy Butler, said the owner of the building didn't want the lights so they used $5,000 of the money for street ambassadors and $5,000 for other lighting in the area.

"We are now working on a mural in that area and some of that money to the pilot program of street ambassadors and cleaned in the 18th and Eye Street area," said Butler.

For their new proposed PBID program the Butler said a new nonprofit will be created with a board comprised of a member of each zone, business owners, a city representative and downtown resident. 

"And they will be making the decision of how this money will be spent and where it will be designated," said Butler

While most of the businesses i talked with like the idea, they're not sure it will address downtown's main problems.

Balanced Bodymind owner, Britney Johnson, said, "But we need the issue of homeless, we need the issues of lighting, we need safety, we need the peace of mind to know that when we walk home or walk out for drinks that we're safe."

If you would like to add your comment to the public comments of this proposed plan you can do so here.