BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Dozens and dozens of Wasco families will be leaving the old farm-labor camp for new homes in the Rosaleda Village development.
A grand opening was held Thursday to celebrate the new homes for so many Wasco families.
The new 226-unit affordable-housing subdivision, located near North Poplar Avenue and Margalo Street, includes a community center, a day-care center, a transit stop and nearby amenities. A new school will be built across the street and welcome new students in the fall.
“It’s been a long time and to see it finally open up is just great,” Candy Wilson, a longtime Wasco resident said. “I know the families at the other facility are anxious to get over here and start anew here.”
Her husband and many of his friends grew up in the old farm-labor camp, which sits in an industrial part of town. It’s next to a coal-transfer plant and the railroad tracks.
“It’s going to just increase the quality of life for so many of our citizens,” Wilson said.
The development, which is currently under the purview of the Wasco Housing Authority, will be transferred to the Housing Authority of the County of Kern.
Stephen Pelz is the executive director of the Kern housing authority and was on hand for the festivities.
“We’re super excited,” he said. “This is actually the largest affordable-housing development to be developed in Kern County in the last 25 years. It’s much needed housing, it’s quality housing, it’s very energy-efficient that is very affordable to families.”
Wasco Mayor Alex Garcia grew up near that old farm-labor camp, on the corner of 6th and H streets, just “feet away from the tracks” and called the grand opening “a momentous occasion.”
“We’re bringing families into the fold and life of Wasco out here,” Garcia said. “This is going to mean a lot to them – a renewed sense of pride, a new sense of home, somewhere to come home after a long day’s work.”
Garcia said the relocation project will be an economic boon because by moving families out of the old farm-labor camp, it will free up space in the industrial park.
“That’s going to bring new businesses, revenues and jobs for our city,” he said. “Wasco is the most underestimated city in this, in this county and right now, if you, if you’re not paying attention, you better lean in, because we’re growing and we’re inviting everyone to grow with us.”