Kevin Johnson Pushes for ‘Renewal’ in Oak Park

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SACRAMENTO -- A big announcement Thursday promises new opportunities for the historic Oak Park neighborhood.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a partnership with educational, healthcare and corporate entities aimed to improve employment, housing, educational, and healthcare options for Oak Park residents.

On the second Thursday in Oak Park hundreds turned out for Gather, a street festival for locals to eat, drink, dance and shop. It is a great draw for the neighborhood, but also a stark contrast to another face of the community just five minutes away, reflecting the neighborhood as a whole still struggling.

"I don’t think anyone doubts that there’s a certain revitalization and renewal going on in Oak Park, but we want to make sure we do it the right way, and make sure it’s a neighborhood that works for everyone," Johnson said.

In that spirit, hundreds packed the Guild Theater as Mayor Johnson announced a new push to improve housing, health, education, and employment for Oak Park residents.

"We’re doing affordable housing in Oak Park which actually guards against gentrification, so we’re going to be very intentional in our housing," said Johnson.

SMUD pledged to help qualified households with energy costs, Johnson promised job openings and training available only to Oak Park residents, and UC Davis medical center is working towards accepting Medi-Cal.

"It's been a longer mission for the school to provide comprehensive healthcare to everyone who lives here," Tonya Fancher with UC Davis said.

The major announcement of the day focused on education. Oak Park has applied for the federal promise Neighborhood grant which would provide Oak Park with about five million education dollars a year for as many as five years.

However whether or not Oak Park is awarded that grant won't be known until November or December, just before Johnson leaves office. Mayor elect Darrell Steinberg promised to see the effort through.

"I intend to do everything I can to take his good, the community’s good works this is millions of dollars a year and to go to work to implement these visions," said Steinberg.

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