Local News

Tuesday, Dec 06 2011 05:47 PM

Government roundup: Report on Rosedale Highway widening due out soon

BY ANTONIE BOESSENKOOL Californian staff writer aboessenkool@bakersfield.com

A draft Environmental Impact Report on the widening of Rosedale Highway will be available for public review at various locations beginning Friday.

The report will look at what the planned widening of Rosedale Highway will mean for traffic, the environment, air quality, noise and other measures. Once it's released, the public has 45 days to comment on it.

Those comments will be collected for the final report and construction will begin in early 2014, according to Ted Wright, city program manager for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program.

The report will be available online at www.BakersfieldFreeways.us or tinyurl.com/7d8ypfb. Hard copies will be available at:

TRIP office, 900 Truxtun Ave., Suite 200

City of Bakersfield Planning Department, 1715 Chester Ave., 2nd Floor

Kern Council of Governments, 1401 19th St., Suite 300

Beale Memorial Library, 701 Truxtun Ave.

Eleanor Wilson Branch Library, 1901 Wilson Road

Bryce C. Rathbun Branch Library, 200 West China Grade Loop

Southwest Branch Library, 8301 Ming Ave.

After the Rosedale report, the city's TRIP office plans to release draft environmental impact reports in the next two months for three more projects: widening Highway 178, improvements to 24th Street and a project to have Hagaman Road cross over Highway 99 and connect with Highway 204. Once those draft reports are released, the comment periods for those projects will begin.

The city is planning two events for public comments for the Rosedale Highway project report: at the Planning Commission's Jan. 5 meeting at City Hall Council Chambers, 1501 Truxtun Ave., and at an open house on Jan. 10 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Connection Assembly of God Church at 7220 Rosedale Highway.

"This is the opportunity for the public to provide input and feedback and have questions answered," said Wright. Unlike the Centennial Corridor project that will include a thoroughfare through central Bakersfield and has several options, the option with the Rosedale project is more straightforward -- to build it or not, he said.

City staff expect funding cuts at the Housing and Urban Development Department will mean cuts in HUD funds for Bakersfield.

The federal housing-assistance agency had funding for its HOME Investment Partnership program and Community Planning and Development programs cut by $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2012, according to a memo from Bakersfield Economic Development Director Donna Kunz.

Bakersfield has used HOME funding for several low-income and senior housing projects, such as Cityplace Apartments. Grants Bakersfield has received under the Community Planning and Development programs have been used for things like street upgrades and parks in low-income neighborhoods, programs at the Bakersfield Senior Center and improvements to facilities for the Boys and Girls Club.

Kunz said details on the exact amounts of the cuts for the city won't come until next year. In the meantime, she said, her department will prepare its fiscal year 2012/2013 budget under a "worst-case" scenario -- that HOME funds will be cut by 38 percent and Community Planning and Development funds will be cut by 11 percent, the figures outlined for overall cuts at the federal level.

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