While 18th Street sizzles, 19th Street struggles, city hopes $1M will close the gap


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — They’re only a block apart, but 18th and 19th streets, east of Bakersfield’s Chester Avenue, are ever more worlds aside. But now the metropolis is seeking to do anything about the disparity. The metropolis of Bakersfield will dedicate an original outlay of $1 million to strengthen downtown streets, and council members have made a decision 19th Street, between L and N is the spot they want to get started.

That is for the reason that the two-block extend of empty storefronts, pawn retailers, tattoo parlors, fire harmed minimal earnings flats and the infamous Cinema 19 grownup movie theater is very substantially in require of a reboot. Ward 2 Councilman Andrae Gonzales suggests these two blocks will be having new trees, much better avenue lights and sidewalk and control repairs.

“We preferred to work on the most challenged blocks in downtown Bakersfield,” he claimed. “In my belief, these two blocks on 19th Avenue in between L and N streets are the most challenged locations. And so this is where by the perform begins.”

Gonzales would like to see 19th road return to its previous bustling glory, when these storefronts did brisk small business and what was then the Virginia Theater, owned by a single of Gonzales’s lengthy-ago metropolis council predecessors – confirmed a lot more healthful enjoyment. To restore that missing electricity, individuals ought to be inspired to get out of their cars and investigate.

“We want downtown Bakersfield to turn into much more walkable, additional bicycle welcoming, much more skateboard friendly,” he claimed, just as two skate boarders clackety-clacked earlier him on the sidewalk. “We want chances for persons to be additional energetic in the downtown place. Correct? To get out of their motor vehicle, to stroll all through the downtown core.”

Gonzales would like that portion of 19th, with the help of City Council-accepted normal fund dollars –  to glimpse additional like that booming results tale one particular block south – 18th Street, or as numerous phone it now, Eastchester. Offbeat and special dining establishments, bars and artwork studios seem to be to pop up weekly. 

Johnny Ramos, who runs Modern-day GiGi, an art gallery, suggests he hates to see 18th Street’s outdated Chinatown identification fade – but he  acknowledges its profound transformation.

“I come to feel like it is the Melrose of here in city,” he reported. “And we’re hoping it goes that way. As soon as Cafe Smitten popped up, then the condos popped up appropriate throughout the road, now people are popping up –  yeah it is undoubtedly coming up once more.”

Antiques supplier Chris Vanderlei, who’s throughout 18th from Ramos and suitable subsequent doorway to the well-known Cafe Smitten, has been on 18th Road because ahead of 18th Avenue was amazing. All people desires in on the action now, he claims.

“On a typical foundation there’s people below on the lookout for a area to lease up and down 18th Street,” he reported. “‘Is there something obtainable?’ And I consider it is spilling more than into 19th Street.”

Eight months new to the region is 18th Street Bar and Grill, in the previous residence of Goose Loonies and the historic Much East Cafe prior to that. Coming soon – new tenants in the place formerly occupied by the late, wonderful cafe Dot and Ott. And sometime this summer time The Cue, market place level housing that could match the success of 17th Location Townhomes, 3 blocks west. There is really pedestrians on the 18th Street sidewalk – unthinkable listed here a 10 years in the past.

Can 19th Street, a block around, catch some of this magic? Probably not specifically the very same type of magic but practically anything at all would be an advancement.

Seventy a long time ago, Bakersfield City Councilman Manuel Carnakis owned the theater we now know as Cinema 19. Seventy many years later on, Bakersfield Town Councilman Andrae Gonzales is making an attempt to improve the glance of 19th Street.


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