Governor Newsom announces 10-point plan to beautify Bakersfield

New multifaceted plan builds on recent successes from investing state resources in area

What you need to know: Governor Newsom today released Caltrans’ 10-Point Plan to Beautify Bakersfield to support the city and surrounding region to improve street safety, enrich public spaces, and add to the already meaningful supportive state programs.
BAKERSFIELD — As the state continues to make public safety and quality of life improvements in communities across California, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced new actions to enhance beautification efforts in the Bakersfield area.

Through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the comprehensive, multipoint plan, known as the 10-Point Plan to Beautify Bakersfield, outlines actionable steps the state is taking to work with local partners to increase litter collection in key areas, clear roadway encampments, update aging equipment, and keep the overall roadway system clean.

The multi-step beautification approach includes:

“Building on key public safety and community-focused initiatives in the area, the state is continuing to provide the much-needed support and resources to ensure the beauty of the Central Valley. This multipoint plan will not only help the city and county clean up its neighborhoods, but also allow the area’s public spaces to flourish for the benefit of all.”

Governor Gavin Newsom
“The city of Bakersfield and its surrounding areas welcome continued enhancements and support from everyone,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. “We appreciate the state’s partnership to not only keep beautifying Bakersfield, but also the efforts over the years to bring in needed resources to uplift our entire community.”

These efforts follow the significant positive impact in Kern County from Clean California – Governor Newsom’s sweeping $1.2 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs, and join with communities throughout the state to reclaim, transform, and beautify public spaces.

Since the launch of Clean California in July 2021, Caltrans and the city of Bakersfield have removed thousands of pounds of trash throughout local neighborhoods, engaged communities and transformed public spaces. Caltrans and Kern County partners have collected nearly 25,000 cubic yards of litter, equivalent to approximately 14 miles of trash – roughly 2 miles longer than the length of State Route 99 through the city of Bakersfield – piled 3 feet high and 3 feet wide.

Clean California has also funded 16 projects totaling $36.2 million throughout Kern County, including four in Bakersfield totaling $10.2 million. The projects are beautifying and improving highway roadsides, local streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways, and transit centers. Through beautification measures and public art, along with the removal of litter and debris, Clean California is enhancing the community and improving spaces for walking and recreation.

Statewide, Caltrans and its local partners have picked up more than 2.4 million cubic yards of litter since July 2021 – enough to fill about 700 Olympic-size swimming pools. This represents a substantial increase compared to the department’s previous trash collection efforts and can largely be attributed to Clean California along with other Caltrans litter removal efforts.

Overall enhanced public safety efforts

Building on the Newsom Administration’s efforts to improve public safety in key parts of California, including Oakland and San Francisco, the state continues to make significant steps to ensure the safety of local communities like Bakersfield.

California has invested expanded resources since 2019 to fight crime, help local governments hire more police, and improve public safety. Most recently,  the Governor announced a new partnership between the Bakersfield Police Department and CHP to address rising crime in the area. Since then, there have been significant positive progress in the region — including the arrest of 302 individuals for illegal activity and the recovery of 182 stolen vehicles.

In 2023, as part of California’s Real Public Safety Plan, the Governor announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in state history, with the Bakersfield Police Department being awarded $6.2 million to specifically prevent and respond to organized retail theft, motor vehicle or motor vehicle accessory theft, and cargo theft.

Through the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force, since January 2024, the state has conducted 185 investigations, leading to 474 arrests and recovering more than 160,000 stolen goods valued at $4.2 million. Overall, this includes an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime, and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety.

How we got here

Today’s announcement enhances the state’s continued investments in Bakersfield and the larger Kern County area focused on improving education equity, arts and culture, health, economic development, public safety and the overall well-being of the community.

The state has invested in education and school nutrition programs, including the Farm to School program, and provided the Kern County Office of Education resources to improve mental health and promote mental wellness within families and school communities. In Kern County, 11 school districts were recently awarded community schools grants, with all 46 public school districts in the area receiving free school meals thanks to the state Universal Meals Program. In addition, California continues supporting student progress from high school to postsecondary education and into the workforce to strengthen pathways to career opportunities and address long-standing equity gaps.

Through the California Arts Council, Kern County has received resources for arts and culture organizations, and provided support for outdoor recreation activities for individuals through the Outdoors for All statewide initiative. For priority populations at particular risk from climate change, the state has aided Kern County with additional support.

Statewide, all community members are eligible for full-scope Medi-Cal and Kern County has seen state investments in behavioral health solutions to address housing and treatment needs of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Through Homekey and Project Roomkey and Community Care Expansion, the area has seen support for affordable housing and housing reforms.

There have also been major investments in regional workforce development programs and community economic resilience, including small business credit support programs and technical assistance to those applying for the State Small Business Credit Initiative capital programs. Kern County has also benefited from state and federal-supported infrastructure projects, such as highway restoration and groundwater recharge projects to ZEV charging stations and battery storage.

The area has received support through the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) program to support community-based responses to violence.

A detailed overview of the state’s investments in Bakersfield and Kern County is available here. The 10-Point Action Plan can be viewed here.

What others are saying

“Litter eradication restores beauty to our transportation system and reinvigorates community spirit by creating infrastructure that is functional, eco-friendly, and visually appealing,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Strategically deploying Caltrans maintenance crews and engaging the public to help prevent littering will work to aggressively clear trash and provide Kern County residents the clean highway roadsides they deserve and expect.”

“As a native Bakersfield resident, I understand intimately the needs of this community – from education and transportation to health care access and public space improvements – the State’s ongoing investments in our community matter,” said Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez. “I look forward to seeing the continued progress in enriching the lives of Bakersfield residents through collaborative efforts at the local, state and federal level.”

“It’s encouraging to see the Governor’s Office continued focus on making Bakersfield a safer place to live, work, and play. The people of the Central Valley deserve to live in safe, clean, and healthy communities, so this comprehensive plan, outlining actionable steps to achieve that goal of beautification and enhanced safety is welcome,” said California Racial Equity Commissioner Traco Matthews. “I’m most grateful to see sustained support for rural communities in light of the state’s current budget challenges. These restoratives, equity investments are well-deserved and remain needed for Kern County and the surrounding areas.”

“We support all investments in the Bakersfield area including Gov. Newsom’s efforts to create cleaner and healthier communities with this 10-Point Beautification Plan,” said Building Healthy Communities President & CEO Kern Reyna Olaguez. “We hope to support any future investments from the Governor that focus on creating other healthy living programs that lift up Kern County.” 

“In support of businesses and business owners of Kern County, the Greater Bakersfield Chamber is proud of the efforts made in partnership with state and local officials to continue supporting economic development in the area,” said Greater Bakersfield Chamber President & CEO Janelle Capra. “This announcement from Governor Newsom to beautify Bakersfield not only helps our small business owners thrive, but also supports the overall local economy and its working families that depend on these services.”