One of the projects highlighted at the Madera State of the County is the relocation of AG Machining, whose facility in Moorpark is a 157,000 square-foot facility.
Written by Frank Lopez
The County of Madera seems poised for economic expansion, as well as for improvements throughout various facets of the area.
On March 23, elected leaders, local business owners and community leaders, as well as members of the public gathered for the Madera County Economic Development Commission’s 2023 State of the County luncheon at the Madera District Fairgrounds.
Event speakers presented on county-wide topics including business and community development, investments in public infrastructure, Madera County’s fiscal health and more.
The speakers were Madera County Board of Supervisors David Rogers, Madera City Manager Arnoldo Rodriguez, Chowchilla Mayor Ray Barragan and Laura Young with the Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Rogers noted even though the county has recently experienced mammoth snowstorms, historic flooding, as well as the closure of Madera Community Hospital, there is still plenty to be thankful for.
Rogers mentioned the 1.1 million people visiting Yosemite National Park through the Park’s southern gate, the construction of multiple hotels in Oakhurst, a robust ag economy with $2 billion worth of product inventory and over 700,000 acres of field crops.
A major concern for the county, and its farmers, Rogers said, is being in compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires local agencies to form groundwater sustainability agencies for high- and medium-priority basins.
Buchanan Damn in Eastman Lake is in the legislative process for a height extension of about 50 feet, allowing for 50,000 acre-feet of more water than its current levels.
Business development in the county is active, Rogers said, and along with staple industries including retail, hospitality, ag, manufacturing and tourism, the small business community is also growing.
“There are a lot of businesses opening up in Madera County,” Rogers said. “We are seeing mom and pop shops opening up all over the place — new things you’ve never seen before.”
The Eastern Madera Chamber of Commerce Foundation, an alliance of mountain-town chambers in Oakhurst, Coarsegold, North Fork and Bass Lake, was recently awarded a $174,500 grant for the Sierra Historic Society Association.
The grant money from the California Historical and Cultural Endowment will go to the Fresno Flats Historical Park & Village in Oakhurst.
Young said the foundation, in following its mission statement, has projects to improve the area, with one of her projects being the clean-up and maintenance of Coarsegold creek. Another project includes refortifying the Coarsegold Wall at Coarsegold Village to prevent its collapse.
Young said the foundation wants to buy a park in Bass Lake near the Pines Village so it could be maintained for the community and tourists.
There is also desire to get all the mountain communities connected by bike trails.
For those in the community wishing to help the foundation, Young said they accept donations, encourage the public to join meetings and to volunteer professional services if possible.
In the City of Madera, Rodriguez said the city recently approved The Villages at Almond Grove, a three-square mile master plan that calls for 10,500 new residential units, plus 2 million square feet of commercial space.
There is currently a proposal at the Madera Planning Commission for a 242-acre area annexation near Martin Street and North D Street that would allow the construction and operation of a new 8,170 square-foot facility for non-profit organization The Arc of Fresno and Madera counties. The annexation also includes an area for three schools.
Commercial projects in the city currently underway include a Fresno Madera Farm Credit, Smart + Final, Ross, 7-11 Travel Center, Big Lots, In-N-Out, Amond World, AG Machining, and other projects that will be revealed in the future.
The annexation includes an area for three schools.
ZND US is a U.K. headquartered company that manufacturers high-quality temporary fencing and barriers that recently opened a facility on West Almond Avenue, making it the company’s second location in the U.S.
“We do have a lot of small businesses taking up the very limited vacancies that we have in Madera. Obviously, our goal is to have no vacancies, that’s what we strive for,” Rodriguez said.
Investments in public infrastructure include a secured $14 million for improvements slated to commence in 2025.
The city is using $23 million in ARPA funding to improve Madera’s sewer and water system. Officials secured $5 million from Congressman Jim Costa for the Avenue 13 sewer trunk main rehabilitation.
An additional $3.5 million from Senator Anna Caballero was secured for the rehabilitation.
Over $3.5 million in grants were secured to improve park facilities — $2 million for James Taubert Park, $830,000 to improve the Fresno River Trail, and $600,000 to improve McNally Park.
Rodriguez said that the city has had a balanced budget for the last four years, despite the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic, and that every city employee has received a wage increase.