Roughly 300 of Bakersfield’s most influential leaders joined together Thursday at the downtown Marriott for the annual State of the Downtown breakfast.
“The state of the downtown is strong,” said City Councilman Andrae Gonzalez of the second ward. He represents the downtown area.
Gonzales said the positive downtown review is credited to those who work in the downtown area.
“The state of downtown is strong and it’s getting stronger, and it’s because of those business owners who are investing in the downtown area,” he said. “We will do whatever we can to help support them in the future.”
At the breakfast, the Downtown Business Association announced new initiatives set to take part in the year to come, including the “block to block” campaign.
Leaders said the goal of the campaign is for to select one business owner from each city block in the downtown area to meet with neighboring business owners. The selected owner will then report back to the Downtown Business Association with any challenges and needs, including security and cleanliness.
The Downtown Bakersfield Association and Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporations also announced the unveiling of the Discover Downtown Live Facebook page. Leaders say the page will provide the public with information for events taking place in the downtown area.
“It will give you all the information you need to know,” said Melanie Farmer, president and CEO of the Downtown Bakersfield Association and Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation. “Everybody is welcome to post on it,” she added. “It will help in bringing people to the downtown area to help support our local businesses and help support our local economy downtown.”
KGET was a media sponsor for the breakfast. “Sunrise” anchors Maddie Janssen and Alex Fisher served as the masters of ceremony.
Dave Urner of the acclaimed Urner’s appliances store was awarded in recognition for his involvement and philanthropy in the community. He remained humble upon receiving the award.
“I think more than talking about the contributions we have done, it’s what the city of Bakersfield has done for us,” he said passionately. “I am very proud that we have been able to help in so many ways, and so I think downtown Bakersfield is the place to be,” the former Navy veteran and soon-to-be 90-year-old said.