10-Point Plan to Beautify Bakersfield announced by Governor Newsom

May 21, 2024 /

As California continues to make public safety and quality of life improvements across California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced new actions to enhance beautification efforts in Bakersfield and the surrounding region; these actions will improve street safety and enrich public spaces while adding to the state programs already in place.

Through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the comprehensive, multipoint plan, known as the 10-Point Plan to Beautify Bakersfield, outlines actionable steps the state is taking to work with local partners to increase litter collection in key areas, clear roadway encampments, update aging equipment, and keep the overall roadway system clean.

“The city of Bakersfield and its surrounding areas welcome continued enhancements and support from everyone,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. “We appreciate the state’s partnership to not only keep beautifying Bakersfield but also the efforts over the years to bring in needed resources to uplift our entire community.”

The 10-point plan includes:

  1. Addressing customer requests about litter, fence repairs, graffiti, and encampments
  2. Repairing irrigation, clearing litter, and removing overgrown areas within landscaped freeways
  3. Keeping key roadways and ramps clear of litter, weeds, brush overgrowth, and graffiti, and doing pavement and electrical repairs
  4. Dedicating a coordinator to oversee the beautification
  5. Partnering with the City of Bakersfield and others to focus beautification efforts in and around downtown areas and roadways
  6. Using social media to get the community involved
  7. Keeping traffic moving with QuickMap push alerts to let drivers know about lawn closures
  8. Updating changeable message signs to highlight worker safety and beautification efforts 
  9. Ensuring construction areas stay clear of debris and litter
  10. Using new sweepers

“It’s encouraging to see the Governor’s Office continued focus on making Bakersfield a safer place to live, work, and play. The people of the Central Valley deserve to live in safe, clean, and healthy communities, so this comprehensive plan, outlining actionable steps to achieve that goal of beautification and enhanced safety is welcome,” said California Racial Equity Commissioner Traco Matthews. “I’m most grateful to see sustained support for rural communities in light of the state’s current budget challenges. These restoratives, and equity investments are well-deserved and remain needed for Kern County and the surrounding areas.”

These efforts follow the positive impact in Kern County from Clean California — the $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform, and beautify public spaces.

“Building on key public safety and community-focused initiatives in the area, the state is continuing to provide the much-needed support and resources to ensure the beauty of the Central Valley. This multipoint plan will not only help the city and county clean up its neighborhoods but also allow the area’s public spaces to flourish for the benefit of all,” said Governor Newsom.

According to a press release by the office of Governor Newsom, since the launch of Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans and the city of Bakersfield have removed thousands of pounds of trash throughout local neighborhoods, engaged communities, and transformed public spaces. 

“Caltrans and Kern County partners have collected nearly 25,000 cubic yards of litter, equivalent to approximately 14 miles of trash. This is roughly two miles longer than the length of State Route 99 through the city of Bakersfield – piled three feet high and three feet wide,” the press release stated.

Additionally, Clean California has funded 16 projects totaling $36.2 million throughout Kern County, including four in Bakersfield totaling $10.2 million. The press release stated that these projects beautify and improve highway roadsides, local streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways, and transit centers. Through beautification measures and public art, along with removing litter and debris, Clean California is enhancing the community and improving spaces for walking and recreation.

The press release continued by noting that: “Today’s announcement enhances the state’s continued investments in Bakersfield and the larger Kern County area focused on improving education equity, arts and culture, health, economic development, public safety, and the overall well-being of the community.” 

“As a native Bakersfield resident, I understand intimately the needs of this community – from education and transportation to health care access and public space improvements – the State’s ongoing investments in our community matter,” said Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. “I look forward to seeing the continued progress in enriching the lives of Bakersfield residents through collaborative efforts at the local, state, and federal level.”

In addition to today’s announcement, the State has also made numerous other investments in Bakersfield and Kern County. These investments focus on improving education equity, arts and culture, health, economic development, public safety, and the overall well-being of the community.

The state has invested in education and school nutrition programs, including the Farm to School program, and provided the Kern County Office of Education resources to improve mental health and promote mental wellness within families and school communities. In Kern County, 11 school districts were recently awarded community school grants, with all 46 public school districts in the area receiving free school meals thanks to the state Universal Meals Program.

Through the California Arts Council, Kern County has received resources for arts and culture organizations and provided support for outdoor recreation activities for individuals through the Outdoors for All statewide initiative.

Tags: , ,