New sidewalks, drive approaches and curb ramps are slated to come this year to the Northside Tehachapi neighborhood near the railroad tracks.
The city of Tehachapi intends to use a three-year allocation of $150,000 of Community Development Block Grant funds through the Kern County Community and Economic Development Department to construct these improvements. It was unanimously approved by council members at the Jan. 21 Tehachapi City Council meeting.
“The funds have to be spent within the area of town that qualifies. And the only area that qualifies, according to their mapping, is the area north of the railroad tracks,” said Jay Schlosser, city development services director.
The funds come through a collaborative agreement rather than going directly through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding.
Schlosser added that residents may see projects located on Robinson Street, Davis Street and Mojave Street between H Street and I Street start construction this year.
City staff presented before City Council members an agreement from Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group that will help design and oversee construction administration totaling $20,000, in addition to the $150,000 for construction.
This is not the first time that the Northside Tehachapi neighborhood has received funding.
In 2017, the City Council approved the Northside Neighborhood Sidewalk Improvements Project. The total budget for that project was $322,260, using some CDBG funding accumulated from years back to 2014.
The neighborhood seems to be an area where the city is focusing its attention.
Corey Costelloe, the economic development coordinator and assistant to the city manager, said in the January Economic Update that the improvements to the neighborhood are increasing the price of the area's housing.
"The move towards aesthetics, public safety, neighborhood watch and an elimination of public nuisances has created a desire for improvement," said Costelloe.
The price of housing in the area is rising.
He added that the Tehachapi Neighborhood Improvement Project and the request for building permits have added to the value of homes.
"In real estate, the sales price for these modest homes have increased 33.5 percent, since the beginning of the Neighborhood Improvement Project compared to the same time frame in the prior year. According to the Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors, there have been three home sales during the project’s timeline with the average sales price of $187,000 compared to two sales during the entire calendar year of 2018 which fetched an average price of just $140,000," Costelloe said.