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Wednesday, Apr 09 2014 06:00 AM

County sets Old Towne 'visioning' workshop for April 11 and 12

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Facade improvements and signage for Old Towne area businesses might be funded by Kern County. A two-day workshop to consider a vision for the area is set for April 11 and 12. Tehachapi News photo

Might the Old Towne commercial area be transformed with grants for signage and other improvements?

That's a question Kern County will be looking at in a two day visioning workshop for the area set for April 11 and 12.

The effort is part of the county's Renewable Energy Neighborhood Enhancement Wind Business Investment Zone, or RENEWBIZ, which has been engaging community members in unincorporated Mojave, Boron and Rosamond.

Scrivner spearheaded the creation of the RENEWBIZ program, which was approved by the county supervisors in December 2012. The grant program is funded by property tax collections in the unincorporated areas of Eastern Kern County since January 2012, capped at $1.5 million per year.

Wind and solar projects in the region have helped bump up the property tax.

"This is a 30-year program approved by the Board of Supervisors, and various projects will be delivered in all RENEWBIZ-eligible communities over the years," Scrivner said.

He said available funds depend on yearly property tax assessments and will be used with other county grants for infrastructure projects, as well as for exterior improvements for businesses and non-profits in those areas.

"Project areas are determined through the community visioning process," Scrivner said. "Local residents and stakeholders are integral to developing the vision."

For Old Towne, the unincorporated commercial area west of the City of Tehachapi which began development in the mid-seventies, the visioning workshop is the first step in a process that may bring RENEWBIZ funding to assist business owners who have created a fledging organization to work with the county.

The public is invited to attend the event which runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 12. The Saturday session will include a walking tour. Both sessions will be held at Valley Oaks Charter School, 20705 South St.

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