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New Public Works and Aquatic Center Improvements in Shafter

Admin | April 12, 2024 @ 12:00 AM

Waste Management initiatives

The Shafter landfill has undergone a tremendous transformation after an injection of funds under recent administrations, several projects have been in development for years, the fruits of which are now being experienced around the Shafter-Wasco area. Among these initiatives are the air burner creating electricity at the Shafter-Wasco Landfill, the $27 million composting facility powered by greenhouse gasses, the waste diversion and composting program, and the Christmas tree recycling program. These programs stand as a testament to Shafter County's commitment to environmental sustainability and its innovation in waste management. The innovative practices and initiatives undertaken by the Shafter-Wasco Landfill, are paving the way toward a self-sufficient waste management facility and an environmentally friendly public infrastructure. Discarding Christmas trees in landfills has been common practice for ages in Shafter County, the county initiative provides residents an alternative, instead, residents are encouraged to recycle them through designated drop-off locations or curbside pickup programs. Recycled Christmas trees can be chipped and converted into mulch or compost, benefiting local landscaping and agriculture, ultimately decreasing the waste going to landfills as well as overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Skatepark renovations

Shafter's infrastructure is also getting a facelift, stakeparks account for a large percentage of the city's physical activity. The old as well as the young congregate in public areas such as community centers, skateparks, and pools around the city of Shafter for holidays. Seeing this, the city council sought to improve the aging infrastructure through an injection of funds. Renovating the skatepark was made possible because of a grant intended to beatify a once agriculture-reliant city, Shafter sits in between hugely populated agriculture centers like Bakersfield and Fresno, cities that produce on levels only matched by entire countries. In order to compete with larger cities, Shafter is heading in a different direction, committing to the beautification of the city is a part of the City Council's plan to promote tourism. Competing with densely populated cities like Fresno and Bakersfield's production is out of the question for a city as small as Shafter, but there are alternative revenue streams used by cities of similar size to punch above their weight class economically. One such money maker is tourism, visiting a new location requires a number of industries to come together to provide a top tier experience, these industries often include hospitality, food, and entertainment. These industries take cash tips on top of the initial charge, ultimately bringing revenue to both the business and the employee. To ensure proper use of funds, a deadline of June 30th, 2025 was set, the city's grant will not be available past the deadline.

Repurposing Shafter Correctional Facility 

Established in 1914, Shafter was originally a loading dock along the San Fransisco - San Joaquin Valley Railroad until being incorporated in 1938. The city has seen a number of construction projects year after year, one such project is the Shafter Correctional Facility, a jail meant for low to medium security inmates. Following citywide reform, the correctional facility was looked at differently, Shafter is a city with below median crime city and has no need for an urban sized jail nor its infrastructure. The proposal sought to start with the 20ft high fence around the entire property, officials say the fence will be repurposed as a substitute for deteriorating drainage basin infrastructure as well as areas damaged by chainlink fence theft. Shafter's commitment to modernization is evident through the removal of obsolete projects from another era and their green methods of disposal. Though the project does not have a set deadline, critics can rest assured that city officials are working their hardest to tear down the antiquated detention center. One glaring challenge that the city council faces is the building material of the prison itself, built in 1984, the Shafter Correctional Facility was originally built using cement and brick. Two materials that the city will struggle to recycle or repurpose, the cost of such an endeavor would reach the seven figure mark quickly and would not produce anything other than an empty space at the end of it. In the interest of preserving funds, Shafter's City Council has sought viable alternatives for the past few months, while it can be easy to judge the progress or lack thereof from the sidelines, one must remember the extensive process, costs, and resources expended in each all city projects.

Groundwater Management

Another initiative cooked up by Shafter's City Council has to do with the ground water management system, a key part of the infrastructure revival of Shafter is drinking water. After over ten years of litigation, Shafter's city council received the rights of two parcels totaling more than 100 acres, the proposal sought to store groundwater for agricultural use in the event of a drought. While not historically affected by drought, Shafter and surrounding agriculture-based cities would be devastated in the event of water shortage. The acquired land was designated to house water storage and basin recharge centers filled with collected groundwater, the proposal suggests that the wells would add 60 cubic feet per second of groundwater. The project seeks to supplement crops regardless of rainfall in the surrounding area, water is an essential resource in crop production and has been a scarce resource in the recent past. Shafter's initiative is a testament to the commitment to modernizing the aging city and its outdated infrastructure. Shafter is well on it's way to competing with surrounding cities with a higher population following their resurgence.

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