BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The City of Bakersfield is preparing for the future by updating its general plan to respond to the changing needs of the community to continue making it a great place to live, work, and play.
The city held its first workshop for community members to suggest ideas which ranged from increasing park rangers, community gardens, more low-income housing, and a ban new oil and gas drilling within city limits.
“The biggest thing for me is multi-use or mixed-use for affordable housing,” said Lilli Parker, Executive Director of Bakersfield Senior Center.
Community members brought their ideas for how they want to improve the City of Bakersfield for decades to come.
“Removing police from public schools as well as hospitals, shelter, and other areas,” said Riddhi Patel, Community Member.
“If the planning is done correctly and properly, we can take care of that 20th and 30th year today,” said Parker.
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The purpose of a general plan is to benefit local communities by creating goals, improving access and use of available resources to help guide its development. The city’s current plan hasn’t been updated since 2002.
“One thing that is consistent in life is change, and the city has changed and its need for a new general plan update is also an imperative right now,” Chris Boyle, Development Services Director.
Boyle said the plan covers topics like land use, housing, open space, safety, circulation, conservation, noise, and environmental justice.
“If we do our homework and we do it right, we hear our citizens, we take their comments, we implement those comments into this document such that it is the blueprint for the city and its citizens it should be topical and contemporary throughout its 20-year lifespan.”
Boyle said updating Bakersfield’s general plan will cost about $3 million to complete and is a lengthy process. It’s not expected to be complete until 2025 at the earliest but will be maintained until 2045.
“It will be vetted by the planning commission, it will be vetted by the city council, it will go through that standard approval process.”
Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh said she is excited about the future of the city.
“I see a community that is thriving, a Bakersfield that is thriving, that is reflective of our population that is thriving and growing downtown, lots of commerce, and a city that is responsive to the community.”
The community is urged to bring new ideas.
“We’re going to survey them and ask them to weigh into what’s important to them because If we’re able to adequately do that and were able to take those values and insert them as principles, goals and a general plan moving forward which means it should be a successful document.”
The next public meeting will be held Wednesday at the Silver Creek Community Center at 6 p.m. and a virtual workshop will be held on Thursday, April 14 on Zoom.