EASTERN KERN and INYO COUNTIES – Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement
this week of $296 million in Clean California grants to underserved communities throughout the state, Caltrans will locally fund four projects in Tehachapi, Mojave, Ridgecrest and the Fort Independence Reservation to remove trash, create jobs and engage communities to transform public spaces. The grants are part of Governor Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping $1.1 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs and engage communities to transform public spaces.
“Locally, four projects received almost $12 million in funding for community beautification,” stated Ryan Dermody, Caltrans District 9 Director. “Caltrans is proud to be working alongside the cities of Tehachapi, Mojave, Ridgecrest and the Fort Independence Indian Community of Paiute Indians to enhance public spaces that improve areas for walking and recreation.”
The projects include a wide range of community enhancements for cities, counties, transit agencies and tribal governments to beautify public spaces, such as litter removal, landscaping and art installations, walking and bike paths, and other complete streets features that enhance safety and access to transportation. The grants will generate 3,600 jobs statewide, and recipients must complete their projects by June 30, 2024. The Governor’s California Blueprint proposes an additional $100 million to fund another round of Clean California local projects.
Projects located in Eastern Kern and Inyo include:
- Oak Creek Community Park: This $6.83 million project received $5 million from this Clean California grant effort. The project is located on the Fort Independence Indian Community’s Reservation in Inyo county is an improvement of public spaces designed to embrace the Tribe’s history and culture with an amphitheater, green infrastructure, playgrounds, a sports court, restrooms, paved trails, art installations and more to share culture and foster community events.
- LeRoy Jackson Sports Complex Improvements: In the City of Ridgecrest, the $1.84 million project will provide improvements such as a lighted walking trail, shaded benches, sports lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping, drinking fountains, new signage and more to create a more functional space that increases recreation opportunities and community pride.
- Mojave East Park Beautification and Enhancements: This $3.02 million project will provide new restrooms, a parking lot, a stormwater basin, a shaded picnic area, new sports field and court, irrigation and drought-tolerant landscaping, exercise stations, and accessible pathways, directly benefitting the residents with a transformed public place of pride.
- Valley Boulevard Recreational Park: In the city of Tehachapi, this $2.09 million project will install a sports field, playground, shade structures, landscaping, and more, to create a one-acre neighborhood park allowing for community engagement and recreation.
The local projects announced this week are in addition to the $312 million for 126 beautification projects along the state highway system that were announced last month
Since launching Clean California in July, Caltrans has removed nearly 7,400 tons of litter from the state highway system – enough to fill 134 Olympic-size swimming pools – and hired 623 new team members as part of Clean California, including 498 maintenance workers who collect litter and remove graffiti.
Jesse is a media content creator and film maker from the Eastern Sierra.