Since our founding in May 2013 we stood up a volunteer police squad, demolished dozens of hazardous buildings and structures, launched southeast Kern’s first Community Garden – and we did it with absolutely NO MONEY! We are an execution-oriented organization, and we pride ourselves on making concrete improvements through effective planning and project management, and capitalizing on the zeal of our community volunteers. We are committed to returning visible, tangible results in a reasonable amount of time to our residents and stakeholders. Accomplishments to date include:
1. Stood up a volunteer police squad. Citizen Service Unit (CSU) is our local volunteer force through the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Our CSU program is instrumental in providing security overwatch for community cleanups and events, sponsors child ID programs around the county, and – most importantly – frees up the deputies’ time so they can do what they do best – keep drugs and criminals off the street. We currently have about 8 volunteers, and are recruiting more! Click here to apply.
2. Demolished hazardous buildings and structures. The Mojave Foundation works closely with Kern County Code Compliance to identify, track and prioritize unsightly or unsafe properties and remove buildings that are a threat to health-and-safety. To date, we have demolished over a dozen hazardous homes and structures, including two on L Street, two on K Street, and one on Belshaw. With these derelict structures removed it clears the way for serious discussions on building new homes in the empty lots left behind.
3. Launched Mojave’s First community Garden. Southeast Kern’s first ever community garden was launched on the Mojave Air & Space Port in October 2014. The garden is open to the entire community and gardeners rent 4 x 8-foot lots for only $45 per year. Participants grow anything they want, and develop lasting friendships with other gardeners and residents. The Mojave Foundation provide the lands, the water, some tools, and infrastructure, and encourages residents to be creative in using their land to build bridges and deepen ties within the community.
4. Executed Multiple Cleanups. The Mojave Foundation planned, resourced and executed multiple cleanups in Mojave. We cleaned and boarded up the Wagon Wheel apartments on K Street, which had been the single biggest source of squatters and drugs in Mojave. We then eliminated a hazardous shack along Sierra highway, and cleaned numerous empty lots in our downtown area. We also conducted a massive cleanup on Western Village, in coordination with Kern County Roads, Code Compliance, Sheriff’s and CSU.
5. Launched a Graffiti Removal Task Force. One day a local resident took it upon himself to remove some graffiti in his neighborhood, and started a revolution in the community. The Mojave Foundation now has the ability to remove graffiti quickly and efficiently – once we obtain permission from the property owner. We partner with Kern County General Services to provide most of the paint, and rely on donations for paint sprayers and labor. Click here to fill out the graffiti-removal consent form.
6. Worked with Kern County to bring the Cross Walk to Hwy-58. In November 2013, a 16 year old school girl was killed by a vehicle while crossing Hwy-58 on her way to school. This was the second fatality crossing this highway in ten years. The Mojave Foundation worked with Kern County Roads and Southern California Edison (SCE) to bring this crosswalk to Mojave and hopefully prevent this from happening ever again.
7. Launched Door-to-Door Campaigns to Promote Education and Health & Safety. The Mojave Foundation conducted numerous door-to-door campaigns in Mojave to raise awareness of health and safety issues affecting their neighborhoods, and to keep the schools open in Mojave. We conducted a massive campaign downtown to spread awareness about an parcel tax measure, which was critical to keeping the schools open in Mojave. We also conducted a massive campaign in Mojave Gardens to galvanize support and raise awareness of an impending utility project that would have generated massive amounts of dust and caused a grave health and safety concern for our children and elderly residents. The parcel tax measure was defeated by only ONE VOTE, and the utility project was ultimately cancelled due to overwhelming public reaction.
8. Submitted the “Sidewalks to Schools” grant to CalTrans. The Mojave Foundation organized and submitted a 100-page grant to CalTrans, via Kern County Roads, for a massive $1.4 million project to install 27,000 linear feet of sidewalks throughout the downtown area, which would allow children to stop walking down the center of the street on their way to and from school. We had three pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2013, including a 16-year-old girl on her way to school. This grant takes advantage of California’s “Safe Routes to School” program, which is a special category of CalTrans’ Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant. We submitted this grant to Kern County Roads in May 2014, and will go to CalTrans for review in Spring 2015. Click here for the grant proposal submitted to Kern County: Part-1, Part-2, Graphics.
9. Convened Mojave’s First Landlord Working Group. The Mojave Foundation launched a bi-monthly meeting for landlords, property managers and property owners to meet and discuss common issues and solve common problems. This meeting is designed to allow property owners to speak freely and exchange best-practices. The group discusses topics like crime, drugs, property management, code compliance, tenants, and recommended contractors. The Mojave Foundation launched this program to raise standards and improve health and safety – especially in our low-income neighborhoods.