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Kern County Praises McFarland As Community Role Model

Kern County Public Health Services
Officials lead a tour of McFarland's new public infrastructure in March 2017, including this park designed by students in 2015 and partially supported by Disney.

Health officials and advocates gathered in Bakersfield today for a summit on public health in Kern County, where one specific community was touted as a public health role model.


In the last five years or so, the city of McFarland has dramatically upgraded its infrastructure. The city has more sidewalks, parks and streetlights than ever before, and it recently created its first bicycle master plan. Flor del Hoyo from Kern County Public Health Services says McFarland is a success story for community engagement and cooperation.


"It’s city government working with the school stakeholders working with the community at large. And so we’re not competing, we’re collaborating," she says.


Dennis McNamara, McFarland’s community development director, says students designed a park that arose out of the city’s partnership with Disney in 2015.


"If we start now with the kids, and get them involved in walking young and get them involved in their community and give them a sense of civic pride and civic engagement, as they get older, they might come back and help the city," he says.


McFarland will break ground on another park next week and plans to install a walking and biking path to encircle the city.

Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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