Faith in the Valley (FIV) is inviting the community to participate in a forum about the improvements for Ford City Park in Taft. This will be the second major meeting in a series of planning sessions to secure funding and adequate county and city management of the park.
The meeting will occur on Thursday, October 19, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. The location will be at Taft College in the Student Center, 29 Cougar Court Taft, CA 93268.
FIV stated that they plan to have live music played, and will provide snacks. Spanish and English interpretation services are available during the forum.
The city of Taft is eager to see what progress has been made in the planning and improvements of Ford City Park. FIV expressed that they are welcoming any concerned citizens and local individuals interested in getting involved to join them for the October 19 forum.
“Due to the current state of Ford City Park and the importance of parks and recreation for the physical and mental well-being of children, youth, and community members, Faith in the Valley-Kern volunteer leaders from the Hispanic-Indigenous community in Taft are convening this meeting a second time because they believe parks, like our homes, are sacred spaces. And, for too long underserved areas like Ford City Park have lacked investments that are crucial to community health and vitality,” FIV wrote in their press release.
Over 200 people gathered at Taft College in February 2023 to begin discussions about improving the nearby park. Residents who spoke at that first forum highlighted the issues at Ford City Park. Some of those issues included a lack of bathroom access and access to working restroom facilities, no lights after dusk for the basketball court, and a lack of shade for warmer weather. Several residents shared personal anecdotes of feeling unsafe in the park, and unfortunately, the youth shared this experience.
Members of the local youth were recruited by Taft city officials to become paid volunteers for future park improvements. FIV asked at the first forum for more collaboration with the city through community-led park renovation coalitions or committees. The first forum was ultimately positive garnering all the panelists to agree to attend future town hall meetings or forums about the park.
According to FIV attendees of the October 19 meeting can expect to interact with panelists Zach Scrivner, Kern County District 2 Supervisor, or a representative, and District 2 Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Bill Chapman. The Kern County Chief Operations Officer, Carl Brewer was invited to speak as well.
Previous panelists from the first meeting include Greg Mudge, Board Member of the Taft City School District and Director of Volunteers for the West Kern Oil Museum, Les Clark Ⅲ, District Administrator at West Side Recreation & Park District and President of West Kern Oil Museum, Stacey Falgout, Director of West Side Recreation and Park District, and Joshua Bryant, City of Taft Councilmember.