$7 million in funding secured for street improvements in Calwa

Brittany Jacob Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
$7 million in funding secured for street improvements in Calwa
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The small Fresno County community of Calwa is getting a big investment -- seven million dollars for infrastructure improvements.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Buckling sidewalks and rocky roads -- have been the "norm" for the residents of Calwa... but not for much longer.

Unincorporated areas are receiving federal and county funds for street and sidewalk improvements.

"Some of these areas don't have sidewalks," Milena Alvarez said. "They have kids walking to school on the closest side of the street, closest to the houses, because there are no sidewalks."

Alvarez is a community organizer with Friends of Calwa.

She's been advocating for this community -- hoping for a better quality of living for all Calwa residents.

Calwa is divided between city and county -- and it's one of the least healthy communities in the state.

Officials say 92 percent of Californians live in healthier living conditions than the residents of Calwa.

"I just feel like a change within a community like this, where everyone is so familiar with each other, deserves to have a change where it's a healthy community for not only the elders here but also those generations that are growing up within this community," Alvarez said.

"Adding these three miles of streets and sidewalks in the community is going to make this a much better place to live," Fresno County Principal Staff Analyst Erin Haagenson said.

On Monday morning, Fresno County Chairman Sal Quintero and Congressman Jim Costa announced the 7 million dollar investment.

Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero grew up in Calwa and still has family there.

He tells me he is grateful they got such a large sum at once because it will make it easier to plan improvements.

"It's a big shot in the arm for this community," Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero said. "It's been underserved for so long, and it's in the lower percentile of income levels."

The federal Highway Infrastructure Program will provide 4 million dollars of funding.

$2.7 million comes from the Active transportation program, and $300,000 comes from the County's Measure C allocation.

"When you see investments in neighborhoods that have been neglected, people believe, well, maybe we haven't been forgotten, maybe that dream is still there for us and our children," Congressman Jim Costa said.