City of Bakersfield logoThe City of Bakersfield Recreation & Parks and Public Works departments are proud to announce that almost $1.5 million in Urban Greening Grant Program funding from the California Natural Resources Agency has been awarded for an urban greening project in Southeast Bakersfield.  

The project will convert a City-owned 4.13-acre sump area on the southwest corner of E. Belle  Terrace and Citadel Street into a multipurpose field, including lighting and walkability improvements. 

“I am very excited to see these improvements coming to this area,” Ward 1 City Councilmember Eric  Arias said. “I believe making our City more walkable and accessible for the families who live here should be one of our highest priorities. And I want to thank all the City staff members who worked tirelessly applying for this grant and developing the improvement plan for this area. I can’t wait to  see it when it is completed.” 

“This grant is vitally important to our efforts in improving this area and creating new recreation opportunities for the neighborhood,” Recreation & Parks Director Rick Anthony said. “The area is  currently being used as a sump, and this project will transform it into a more usable space for our  residents to enjoy while also helping reduce air pollution in the area.”  

The grant totals $1,419,099, with another $27,500 match from the City, appropriated from the  General Fund. 

The City plans to plant 70 new trees and 2,400 new drought-tolerant shrubs at the property as part of the project, providing a substantial tree canopy along the sidewalk to improve walkability during hot summers. The trees and shrubs used will all fall into either low- or very low-water use classification according to the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species list. 

The new sidewalk and shade canopy along Citadel Street will also create a “Green Route to School”  for students attending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary. 

“Greening our streets and schoolyards with more trees and plants helps cool down conditions for our most vulnerable Californians, including kids and seniors,” California Natural Resources Secretary  Wade Crowfoot said. “These greening projects also can beautify communities, improve recreational  opportunities and peace of mind, enhance water capture and provide habitat for birds and animals.” 

Solar-powered lights will be installed along the walkway to the east and north of the park area and an Americans with Disabilities Act access and seating will be added on the east side of the park. The parking lot along E. Belle Terrace will be repaved with decomposed granite to create a new permeable surface and create a new pocket park with benches. 

The unused central green space will be reactivated with natural turf as a multipurpose field, complete with removable goalposts for use as a soccer pitch.