Serving the community since 1922

Shafter improving city's parks, roads

The city of Shafter has been busy this quarter improving the park system and roads in and around Shafter, continuing the beautification of the city.

Thanks to a couple of grants and allocated funds in the projected budget, the city has completed the Stringham Park improvement project, needing just some finishing touches.

"We just have to put in a few trees, and the project will be completed," said Public Works Director Michael James. "The trees are from the trees that we removed from the park, so we are reusing the trees, not needing to buy new ones."

The project saw the city move the bus stop for the Regional Transit Bus system from the corner located at the City Hall building and Central Valley Highway to the new location on James Street at Stringham Park. The location also boasts a shaded structur, and a new parking lot that is using part of the existing park on the east side of the location. "It doesn't decrease the square footage of the park, just rearranges the location of the grass area and the playground equipment."

The new playground equipment is located across from Shafter Donuts, with new, safe equipment and new restrooms.

The city also has begun a new section of road improvement included in the Zerker Road improvement project. Zerker Road has seen miles of road improvements, adding a shoulder to the road, as well as resurfacing the street pavement and striping. The next phase, which was approved at the last City Council meeting, will include the stretch of Zerker Road that parallels Highway 99. The section that will be under construction goes from Zerker Road at the beginning of the Highway 99 stretch and goes to the curve that eventually meets at Seventh Standard Road. This project has been funded by city Capital Improvement funds, as well as a grant from Kern COG that was issued in 2023. This section will be the last phase of the project, connecting Zerker and Seventh Standard Road.

Also on the horizon is the beginning of designing and planning of the long-awaited roundabout that will be installed at the intersection of Los Angeles Avenue and Central Valley Highway. This project, according to James, will work wonders in eliminating a lot of the congestion that is experienced on a daily basis at the intersection, which sometimes results in a mile-long wait at the stop sign at the intersection. This roundabout is similar to one that was installed at the intersection of Highway 43 and Stockdale Highway. This roundabout has eliminated a large portion of the congestion at the intersection and has also made the area a lot safer, James said.

With the design and planning getting underway, the project expects to have a completion date of spring 2026.


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