Local

July 27, 2012

Revitalize Mojave Program praised by Kern County planner

by Raphael Jaffe
Staff Writer

Lorelei Oviatt, Kern County Planning and Community Development Commissioner, had high praise for the Mojave Home Town Pride REvitalize program that the chamber of commerce has organized.

“You are so ahead of the game,” she said recently.

Because of what has been accomplished, she is seeking $100,000 of funding from the Board of Supervisors to hire a professional consulting firm to provide a plan for specific community projects. Such improvements may be funded by various county, state or federal funding sources.

Both Oildale and Rosamond have recently had such plans prepared. Oildale has received about 42.5 million as a result of its plan and its downtown has been revitalized. Rosamond has received a $1 million transportation improvement grant from the Kern Council of Governments.

The consultants interview community leaders, neighborhood groups and hold workshops to find out what the residents want in their community.

The process is known as “visioning.” It happens with intensive workshops on a single Friday and Saturday. During the workshops, there is no talk allowed about the costs involved in the improvements. The visioning group includes teachers, students, veterans, seniors and business owners.

The result is a book of implementation of how to improve the community. Oviatt feels that a key result is also the general plan poster that shows how the improved area will look. It is annotated to show what each part of the area includes.

“You have to enter a partnership with the county,” Oviatt said. “After the visioning, the county knows what Mojave wants. The county can then be a catalyst for Mojave”

There were about 150 people attending the July 19 meeting at the Mojave Veterans Hall. Supervisor Zach Scrivner praised the REvitalize Mojave group as an effective groundswell grass roots project.

Before Oviatt’s remarks, each of the subcommittee chairs reported their progress.

Tim Holden’s Economic Development group held a business mixer that was attended by about 50 local business owners. The purpose of fostering friendships was fulfilled. Also, attendees filled out a survey questionnaire. The group has compiled an inventory of vacant buildings, and is surveying residents to find out what people want in Mojave. A new Website is being developed. It is planned to inform outside businesses of the advantages of Mojave.

The Design committee sponsored a community clean up of one area in June. It was a great success, and residents of all ages participated. Another cleanup day is scheduled for Sept. 22. The cleanup also resulted in the donation of bout $200 to the project.

Promotions committee chair Catherine Mijares reports that the Dec. 8 Christmas tree lighting will involve much of the community. There will be participation by the seniors, boutique tables, children’s craft tables, and goodie bag giveaways for children, and of course, Santa.

The Gold Queen Mining Co. is looking to locate its office in Mojave, on Sierra Highway. It has donated $500 to the county. That will be used to partially fund the planning consultants.

Raul Alcaraz told the group of the progress that Race communications is making on bringing high-speed fiber internet communications cable to Mojave Air and Space Port. By October, it will tie in its backbone cable to the airport system. This creates the hub that Race will use to apply to the state to fund installation of fiber throughout Mojave, and ultimately to the rest of East Kern.




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