The Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting included discussions of community business on Feb. 6. It meets the first Wednesday of every month.

The Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District is set to apply for grants and partner with community organizations to help fix existing infrastructure at its facilities. 

That was discussed at the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council meeting Feb. 6.

TVRPD is set to apply for two grants totaling more than $3 million from the state of California and from Dignity Health Memorial Hospital. The grants would help make improvements to West Park and Central Park.

The Cultural Community and Natural Resources Grant from the State of California Natural Resources Agency would help West Park with implementing enhancements to storm water capture, adding trees and making the area Americans with Disabilities Act accessible. The district is set to submit an application by Feb. 13.

“The best benefit is that we will address the flooding issues in the park,” said district manager Michelle Vance.

She added that a walking path around West Park and the baseball fields would be made ADA accessible if the district receives the $3.2 million grant.

The district entered into an agreement with consultant firm MNS Engineers to prepare a grant application, which consists of a concept proposal, site plan, narrative description, evaluation questions, cost estimate, required documentation, and other grant writing needs. The cost to define the scope totals $9,940. The district board unanimously approved the agreement at the Jan. 15 regular board meeting.

After the passage of Proposition 68 in June 2018, more than $37 million is available to help restore and enhance the state’s community and natural resources. TVRPD is eligible to receive those funds.

“Now at West and Central Park we qualify as a severely disadvantaged area, which gives us a lot more points to obtain the grant and because the matrix has changed," added Vance. 

Dignity Health Memorial Hospital is inviting the district to submit an application to receive a $60,000 grant to help renovate the skate park at West Park. The deadline is March.

The grant does require two partnerships with other organizations to be able to apply and the Dignity Health is assisting the district to identify those in the community, said Robin Mangarin-Scott, vice president of strategic marketing and communications for Dignity Health.

“The focus is to have a brighter spot in the neighborhood,” added Mangarin-Scott. “The grant would not just be used for the remodel of the skate park, but help them with any programs associated with it.”

The district can apply for up to $75,000 in grant funding and help the area that has socioeconomically disadvantaged families.

Mangarin-Scott added that Dignity Health distributes up to $400,000 in grants per year throughout Kern County and the hospital wants to help communities where they provide health care.

"We want to be part of the community and help their wellbeing both physically and mentally. It's keeping a community healthy," said Mangarin-Scott.

The hospital has already provided $4,000 to help sponsor Movies in the Park, during which free shows are played at Meadowbrook Park, Brite Lake and Philip Marx Central Park in the summer, said Vance.