As we continue to pursue a sense of normalcy, our business at City Hall continues down that road with all the highs and lows associated with it. Whether that work involves taking a state agency to task over unfulfilled promises, or just finding ways to continually invest in our quality of life.
Many of you caught our response to the latest environmental documents as it relates to the California High Speed Rail project and the section of track scheduled to come through Tehachapi. This has been a reality for several years, so while many felt like they were just now learning about it, the contrary is true. While it will have a big impact on our entire community, “make it go away” simply was not an option. As you can see by the sections that have been constructed, the state goes where it pleases.
Our disappointment came in the lack of proposed mitigation to the noise impact this train will have on our community should this section ever be constructed. Reality or not it is our job to go to bat for our residents when we see them being short-changed, and if you are familiar with environmental impact reports, it is a requirement to properly mitigate impacts. We feel the noise, especially for residents in Arabian Estates north of Highway 58, is not being mitigated correctly. HSR has reached out and wants to hear more about our concerns; stay tuned to the results and the potential changes to their proposal. Tehachapi does not have a station and the train will simply pass through; we want to make sure they do the right thing as best we can.
On the economic front, Tehachapi certainly took a few hits during the last 13 months of COVID-19, but we continue to see investment, new construction, new businesses, leases and renovations. We successfully completed our Small Business Loyalty Program after redeeming over $50,000 in purchases from local businesses in exchange for $20 gift cards to our local eateries. We received donations from community members and businesses and nearly made it to the end of March before funding was exhausted. It was a small gesture and a great way to interact with local business owners and just let them know we are here to help them recover from the odd year that was 2020.
I join most of you in the excitement of what is to come as events return to our community. The city of Tehachapi will be bringing back the All-American 4th of July Festival this year, we will scale down some events but many community favorites like the All-American 5k, the Ed Grimes Memorial Pancake Breakfast, Wall of Valor, food vendors and live music will return to Philip Marx Central Park. Special thanks to AES Clean Energy, formerly known as S Power and Waste Management, for their sponsorship of the events that will culminate with our fireworks show at 9 p.m. from Tehachapi Municipal Airport. Other events this spring and summer from different organizations are in the planning stages and we welcome them back to Tehachapi after a long absence.
In closing, I would like to mention Earth Day on April 22. There have been several community groups that have reached out to the city regarding activities, and we support them all. Earth Day certainly allows people to think about things like litter removal and quality of life, but those are principles we consider every day. Trash is picked up actively and the streets are swept and cleaned by our public works crews daily. Earth Day is a nice reminder for how we should live, but I believe this city takes those issues seriously in our daily business as we strive for a cleaner, healthier community.
Thanks for reading these updates and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Greg Garrett is Tehachapi's city manager.