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Grant to pay for solar at senior center

The Shafter Recreation Department will be installing a solar array with part of a federal grant for just over $230,000 for improvements at the Walker Senior Center. The grant also will fund an upgrade to the parking lot.

According to District Manager Phillip Jimenez, the grant was a pleasant surprise. "We didn't know what to expect when we applied for the grant. We are pretty small compared to other organizations that got a similar grant from the same program. We are very thankful for it."

It takes quite a lot to provide the center with electricity, with the center being the hub of activity for Shafter's seniors.

The center hosts the Kern County Meals on Wheels of North Kern, as well as daily exercise classes for seniors. They also provide other activities such as Zumba classes and karaoke events, as well as chair aerobics.

The Walker Senior Center also serves as the cooling station in Shafter during the summer.. "This grant will drastically drop that electric bill, with the installation of the solar, "said Jimenez.

The grant was part of a federal spending package passed by Congress, advocated for by Rep. David Valadao.

Jimenez was grateful that Valadao worked on their behalf and said that this is a big relief to him and his staff, who are in the middle of a major renovation project of their own, building a sports complex that will rival any in the county.

"We heard the news about the grant; it was a mix of emotions, happiness, excitement and now understanding that we have to get to work to make sure we get this project all taken care of," Jimenez said.

There is no set timeline for the completion of the project.


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