Momday, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) toured the future community center site in the City of Avenal.

“This investment is more than just a building, it’s a place where residents can come together, where their children can play in a safe environment, and where people can seek refuge from the brutal summer heat,” said Senator Hurtado. “Avenal will benefit tremendously from the building of the community center here, and I was pleased to see the plans firsthand for myself — I expect many great memories will be made here in the future.”

Senator Hurtado secured $2 million in the 2021 state budget for a community center in the City of Avenal that will serve approximately 13,000 residents and may also be used as a cooling center. The community center will include a soccer field, a multi-purpose room, a weight room, commercial kitchen, full basketball court and offices. The project is expected to take 2-3 years.

With expectation that the new summer norm will be extreme heat across the Central Valley and state, cooling centers are more vital than ever, Hurtado said in a release. 

This legislative session, Senator Hurtado secured $1,000,000 in the State Budget that will be divided in grants among the fire and public safety departments of the cities of Lindsay, Woodlake and Sanger. This funding can be used towards addressing wildfire risk and impacts, as well as for public safety equipment. She also secured $750,000 for the City of Farmersville to purchase a new fire engine.

Senator Hurtado also secured $25 million for a regional fire training center in Fresno in this year’s budget. Built in the 1930s, the last major upgrade to the training center was in 1953. The training center was built for a department of 100, which protected a population of 50,000; Fresno, today, has more than 540,000 residents and 302 firefighters on staff.

The City of Fresno is positioned as a regional hub, meaning that this training center will help support fire personnel in surrounding cities and counties. Fresno hosts hundreds of fire service training officers from across California at the Training Officers Symposium, the state’s premiere fire-training event.

This $25 million investment in the Central Valley will allow the fire service to perform live-fire training exercises, and use specialty training props. It will ensure smaller fire departments in the region don’t need to travel to Los Angeles or the Bay Area for training, helping to strengthen the Central Valley’s workforce pipeline, and bringing the departments closer to state and national average recommended ratios of firefighters-per-population coverage.

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