By Bud Laidlaw:
The land for Central Park was originally donated to the city of Bakersfield, CA by the family of an early California Spanish land grant recipient in the late 1800’s. Originally the natural canal that runs through it was used to feed mountain rain water into water banking collection lakes that was supplied to farmers for crop irrigation. In recent years, Central Park and the surrounding area became run down and a haven for transients, with various organizations providing feeding programs in the park to assist these groups. Unfortunately, the effect was an increase in litter and crime in the area and made the park an undesirable place to visit. The Mill Creek renovation and revitalization project, along with an ordinance against the feeding programs, offers promises to change all of that!
With the help of a 10.8 million dollar California state grant, and a year and a half of construction, Central Park at Mill Creek, in downtown Bakersfield, California is now open. A five phase project, Mill Creek Linear Park will ultimately include one and a half miles of the Kern Island Canal which was transformed into a natural creek and runs through the heart of the city. The project includes walking and bike paths, a wireless hotspot, new housing, commercial development, and a renovated pond.
The original pond experienced long periods of algae bloom and was an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects. As usual Otterbine was there to assist in creating an attractive water feature for the park that also adhered to strict water quality management requirements. Working with Kern Turf’s Dennis Shurte, Josh Banducci, and DC Fischer, Mill Creek Linear Park will eventually include nine 3HP Aerating Fountains; two Sunbursts, three Rockets, and four Tri-Stars. The first phase of the pond project was to address the water quality management needs and the two Sunburst units were installed by Elite Landscaping’s Construction Supervisor Ken Reed because of their strong aeration capabilities. Shortly after the installation, Reed’s conversations with City and Irrigation District representatives determined their satisfaction with the results and pointed out the drastic improvement in water quality and general aesthetics of the pond.
The City of Bakersfield’s vision for their downtown area has prompted many businesses to make improvements to their buildings and take advantage of the increased foot traffic that the newly designed park and waterways are sure to bring. Otterbine is proud to be a part of this ambitious and successful project.