BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Food brings people together and can foster impactful conversation.
The State of Downtown Breakfast aimed to do just that; in the heart of the place, they hope to continue making better for the community.
“As the downtown city councilman, I want to proclaim that the state of downtown is strong!”
Those words coming from Bakersfield City Councilmember Andrae Gonzales at the state of the downtown breakfast.
Gonzales announced an additional 49 housing units on the way through a new complex called “the Q,” this comes as downtown keeps growing.
Senator Shannon Grove even told 23ABC about how Assembly Bill 140 will bring a 125-bed transitional housing facility to the CityServe property in downtown.
“36 of them have been allocated for emancipated foster youth so we can help people transition back to being productive members of society. There will accountability, wrap-around services, mental health services,” said Senator Grove.
With more neighbors and businesses comes extra efforts to keep them safe. The owner of ‘In Your Wildest Dreams’, a local consignment store, said the block-to-block project, which started about three and a half years ago, has been a part of that.
“The downtown business project started three and a half years ago because several of us were loud and proud, we didn’t know what to do. We had no idea what our government was doing. We had no idea how our police department worked. We didn’t have a clue. So, block to block program, what is that? It’s a neighbor helping a neighbor,” said Dixie Brewer, Owner of ‘In Your Wildest Dreams’.
The Downtown Business Association’s President and CEO Melanie Farmer said there are 85 block captains representing 500 businesses, which looks to keep the 300 square block radius of downtown informed about celebrations or concerns happening in that area.
Plus, a lot of downtown businesses have security cameras, and they work in conjunction with the city and police department.
“It’s really helped the businesses with feeling that they are not alone, that they’re all going through the same thing. Then when it gets too rough, that they have them to rely and lean on in rough times,” said Farmer.
This month a pilot project with O and A security kicking off. That’s just one effort to keep these downtown neighborhoods safer.
For the next sixth months, they’re offering their services right here on Chester Avenue, Wall Street Alley, 19th Street, and Eye Street. A little bit of 20th Street. They’ll eventually even expand to Wechester.
“It’s a presence. Like most companies you see lately, they have screen guards. With O and A, they’re able to detain and they’re able to carry a weapon. Which at nighttime, it gets a little rough out there, so businesses have seen a really big difference.”
Farmer said that the funds for O and A do not go through the DBA they’re just a liaison between the business and the security company.