The community of Mojave, Calif., is setting itself on the path to revitalize itself.
Making Mojave a more desirable place to live is the goal. The long sleepy community is home to the Mojave Air and Space Port. That asset is known worldwide as a hub of innovative aerospace and commercial space flight breakthroughs. It is perhaps better known worldwide than inside California.
The East Kern Airport District operates Mojave Airport. At a recent board meeting, President Jim Balentine reflected that we should try to bring the success that we have had “outside our fence.”
Airport CEO Stuart Witt certainly agrees. Making Mojave a more desirable town will greatly assist the airport’s tenants in their recruitment of professional employees. The situation is similar to that faced by Edwards Air Force Base when a few years ago it was given added responsibility for initial and development flight test of the F-35 aircraft. Many personnel who worked at Kirkland AFB were reluctant to move to the Edwards area.
The Mojave Chamber of Commerce is becoming more active in fighting community blight under new President Cathy Hansen. Kern County Code Enforcement Officer Al Rojas recently addressed the Chamber on abandoned houses in the community. He pointed out that it is difficult to get absentee owners to follow the rules. The Chamber is compiling a listing of eyesores that will be brought to the county’s attention.
Neighboring Tehachapi has renewed itself over the last several years. Mojave community leaders like Bill Deaver have pointed out that it may provide a model for Mojave. Differences are that Tehachapi is an incorporated city and has about three times the population of Mojave.
The airport is rehabilitating one of its buildings with plans to establish it as a community center. Airport district board members, such as Hansen, are active in revitalization efforts. One example is that Witt is interested in the possibility of a charter school in Mojave. Board member Dick Rutan has had discussions with an interested group.