BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Engaging the community in helping improve the City of Delano, that was the purpose of Thursday evening’s community meeting, to get input on how to use grant money.
Delano residents gathered at the Ellington Community Center to interact with city staff and officials and share improvements that they hope to see in their community.
“I’m concerned about my community, and so I do come to these meetings,” said Yolanda Chacon Serna, Delano resident.
Thursday evening’s meeting was to get public input on where people wanted to see federal dollars being spent to improve local neighborhoods.
“It was great to see so many of our residents engaged and come out and tell us, ‘Hey this is where our priorities lay, this is where we want to spend the money,’” said Sumeet Batth-Chavez, City of Delano.
The city hasn’t received this year’s grant amount yet, but based on previous years, the estimate is getting close to $600,000.
Most of that money is already allocated to different administrative uses, loan repayment and to help fund the city’s domestic violence shelter but officials expect about $200,000 to be left over that can help address residents’ needs and they have a say in that.
“So, getting involved in where the money is going, and our infrastructure. Our city is over 100 years old, and the pipes are disintegrating. There’s pesticides and a lot of things that we’re dealing with in the city,” said Delano resident Yolanda Chacon Serna.
Many of the suggestions were about making sidewalks and curbsides safer for pedestrians, funding anti-gang programs, improving street drains to avoid flooding when it rains, increasing lighting in neighborhoods, adding stop signs or speedbumps to busy intersections and streets to slow down traffic, and improving alleyways among others.
Delano Councilmember Salvador Solorio-Ruiz said forums like these help facilitate brainstorming sessions to make real change.
“Everyone has concerns, or an opinion, or an input that they want, but it’s always about where exactly do they vocalize those opinions. I think this was a great opportunity to do that.”
Another big push was to help make the city stronger and safer by creating youth and senior programs and making Delano a more vibrant place.
“People of different ages can engage with each other and interact, and that’s what community is all about,” said Serna.
If you want to get involved in this feedback process, the City of Delano is hosting the next community meeting on May 3.