According to Farmer, the governing board for the Block-to-Block program has been established, and she listed the names of 25 businesspeople who are on the board. Members of news organizations were not permitted to cover the meeting itself. “Reuniting” the organization’s Block Captains was also a priority for the DBA. Block captains are in charge of one square block, sometimes two, Farmer said. They attend the meetings and report back to the business owners or managers on their block who often are unable to attend the meetings.
“So I’m happy to announce,” Farmer said, “that everybody has come back and they’re ready to get started. They’re reuniting right now and having great conversations.” Then everything began to change that spring.
Indeed, DBA members began their meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday inside the Fox — and the meeting was still going as Farmer spoke with news reporters outside at 10:30 a.m. “Last year, we were getting ready to kick off our governing board for the Block-to-Block program, and it was going to start in April of 2020,” Melanie Farmer, president and CEO of the DBA and the Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation, said at a news conference held Wednesday morning outside the Fox Theater.
“We have just over 3,900 different reports that we have responded to, cleaning up downtown for feces and urine and making sure everything stays decontaminated and clean for business owners and residents in those areas,” he said. But their area of service is expanding. Farmer introduced Jordan Barker, with ADR Services, a private cleaning service the city contracted with to remove human waste and sanitize sidewalks in front of storefronts, alleys, in parks, parking lots, and open spaces in downtown Bakersfield and Old Town Kern.
“Before the pandemic happened, we were turning the corner, and doing amazing work in the downtown area,” she said. “So we’re ready to reunite and get started.” Block-to-Block began three years ago, Farmer said.
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