Planners to Mountain: ‘Be a Player’

  • Participants were asked to rank the importance of ?smart growth principles? for this area. See the Blueprint Summary at

    Participants were asked to rank the importance of ?smart growth principles? for this area. See the Blueprint Summary at

Bike Trails and Walkable Retail Area in Frazier Within Reach Kern COG Says

By Patric Hedlund

The staff of the Kern Council of Governments (Kern COG) rolled back into town on August 21 with a boxload of information for the Mountain Communities, and a few vital words of advice.

“If you want bike paths, the Cuddy Creek trail system and walkable streets in Frazier Park, be a player, come to the table and tell us what you are envisioning; we’re there to help,” Darrel Hildebrand, Kern COG’s assistant director emphasized. He added that budget has been allocated for 2009 to re-draw the bike path plans for the county. “We can’t make promises, but now is the time to put your marker on the table,” he said.

Kern COG is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization and the state-designated Regional Transportation Planning Agency for Kern County. They are responsible for developing and updating a variety of transportation plans and for allocating the federal and state funds to implement them, according to Kern COG allocates about $100 million a year, Hildebrand said.

Their “Phase One” Kern Blueprint report was delivered here at the invitation of The Mountain Communities Town Council, which hosted the event at Cuddy Hall. This is the Kern COG staff’s third trip in a year to talk with mountain residents about what we want for the future of this region.

“Our goal is to get us all on the same page, and to start talking with each other now to build consensus about what future growth should look like,” Hildebrand said.

Despite initial skepticism here, the staff has been visibly responsive to local concerns. When The Mountain Enterprise noticed errors in a map of our region at a meeting in Bakersfield, Robert Ball immediately re-drew the map and republished it to accurately depict the villages that make up the Mountain Communities.

Linda MacKay said, “Maybe most the future growth should take place down in Bakersfield rather than rural regions.” Hildebrand said, “that’s something we all need to look at.”

Joseph Avianeda of Frazier Park was concerned about maintaining open space for wildlife and forest. Troy Hightower, a planner and computer modeling specialist, replied that this concern is shared by people throughout the county, in all their responses about the most important values to include in planning for the future.

This is part of the August 29, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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