Now that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed, the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District is crossing its fingers in hopes an application for grant money to build a new city park will be accepted and approved.
"We are excited to pursue this grant opportunity. Our goal is to create a new park and a new mini gym/community center at the corner of Tucker Road and Cherry Lane," said TVRPD District Manager Corey Torres.
In an interview last week, Torres said he submitted a grant request and conceptual design in the amount of $8 million through Round 4 of the Statewide Park Program through the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program.
Although $395.3 million will be awarded, Torres said the SPP grant is "super competitive."
"This is an all or nothing grant. There is no partial awards. This project will not be able to move forward if the total grant request is not approved," Torres said.
From October through January, TVRPD received input from the community by hosting numerous public meetings to gather information on what desired recreational features and new program offerings the people of Tehachapi would like to see in a new park.
The proposed site, a 2.2-acre vacant lot just south of Dollar General for the new park and community center, would feature a playground, open green space, multiple courtyards, and an elevated performance stage area.
The recreation building would have a single high-school regulation sized basketball court with different painted lines to also accommodate volleyball and pickleball. The building would have a large community room to house community classes, meetings and other types of gatherings, which is currently lacking in Tehachapi.
"We will be able to offer it to people to reserve for weddings and receptions," Torres said.
One of the selling points for the proposed new park is the demographics.
"The state is looking to provide new parks to disadvantaged neighborhoods within communities. This is the best seeded area for this project in Tehachapi," Torres said.
Grant awards are slated to be announced later this summer with an estimated project completion date of March 2025.
"It is exciting to be able to have the opportunity to apply because this kind of money for big grants don't come around often," Torres said. "We just have to throw our name in the hat, and go for it while it is here."
Torres went on to say that he learned a lot about applying for grants in the last round offered by SPP, and is much more confident of Tehachapi's chances to be successful with this round.
"I think we have a better shot to be successful for this round. We are in a much better position," Torres said.