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Arvin planting trees to clean the air, provide shade and build a stronger community

FILE -- The city of Arvin, Calif., is seen in January 2016. (KBAK/KBFX file photo)

Arvin is going green by growing green. In an attempt to clean up the air, the city is planting hundreds of trees.

The nearly $800,000 is all coming from grants, mostly from the state. The trees are going in parks and along city streets.

The air in Arvin is anything but crisp, as haze regularly fills the horizon.

"The air quality in Arvin is really bad, and everybody gets sick off of it," said local mother Gladys Rosales.

Arvin is in the 99th percentile of air quality in California and features some of the worst air in Kern County.

Now, the city is launching an all-out attack on dirty air. Their militia is armed is with more than 300 15-gallon trees.

These trees, though, are just the start, according to the city's finance director Jeff Jones.

"At least another 3,000," Jones said. "The city of Arvin has a total of 8,000 trees, so we'd certainly like to increase it by 25 percent."

Some trees will be planted at Kovocevich Park. Others along El Camino. Hundreds more will be scattered throughout Arvin.

These trees are expected to help with more than just air quality. The name of the campaign is "Made for Shade." A few of the trees will be planted at the Arvin Transit stop, so in the summer people can wait for the bus in the shade.

Not only are the trees expected to clean the air and provide shade, they're also supposed to bring the community together as the grants allow volunteers to lay the roots -- a prospect that Rosales is excited about, and she plans to get her children involved.

"I will! I will! That would be so fun, they would like that," Rosales said. "It will be like they're making history, because they'll be like, 'I planted this tree with my mom.' So I'd do it, I will."

The city hopes everyone else in Arvin is also just as eager to plant trees as they to breathe clean air.

Other plans for the grant money are to install bike and walking paths, as well as electric car charging stations to encourage people to use clean modes of transportation.

Jones expects the first trees to be planted this fall and winter.

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