Two weeks ago, I was asked to attend the San Joaquin Valley Smart Valley Places Kickoff Convention in Fresno, CA on behalf of our Executive Director, Beth, who was fresh off of her plane back from Bellagio. Fresno, you say? In the summer?! Yes, it was 105 degrees with no breeze, but I am so glad I went. Here’s why:
PCV’s mission is to create jobs for the folks in California who need them most, and I heard at this conference how very much the San Joaquin Valley needs jobs. And fast.
One of the day’s presenters, Glenda Humiston, Director of the USDA in California, told the audience of the persistent poverty in the Valley and reminded us all that previous strategies to change this have not worked.
What will work, according to the days presenters, is a collaborative effort that will bring “realistic, sustainable urbanization plans that bridge jurisdictions by focusing growth in the urban areas to preserve agriculture and minimize suburbanization, plus address local and regional mass transit, energy and housing issues.”
Smart Valley Places is coordinated by the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley (Partnership) and driven by a Compact of 14 Cities (Compact Cities) from throughout the eight counties in the San Joaquin Valley, in partnership with four regional nonprofit organizations, California State University, Fresno, the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation, and the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council, which represents all eight county Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the Valley.
The net result/outcome will be a single integrated plan for regional growth that will guide the San Joaquin Valley for the next 20 years and even beyond.
Here at PCV, we’re excited to think about all of the different ways to participate in this action plan – and it’s my hope that attending the convention was just the beginning of something big for us in the Central Valley.