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By Greg Garrett
Tehachapi City Manager 

Managing Local Resources

From the City Manager


Pictured left to right: Councilman Phil Smith, Councilwoman and Honorary Commander Kim Nixon, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Mayor Susan Wiggins, and Tehachapi City Manager Greg Garrett.

On May 30, the Nation observed Memorial Day. I'm sure that most of you, like me, reflected on the sacrifices that so many men and women have made to protect our nation and our freedoms. How blessed we are as a nation because of their service!

The very next day, I had the chance to accompany several City Council members, including Mayor Susan Wiggins, Councilman Phil Smith, and our Councilwoman and Honorary Commander, Kim Nixon, to a reception at Edwards Air Force Base to meet the Secretary of the Air Force. Secretary Deborah Lee James was gracious and kind in our short meeting with her and she had great things to say about the people and projects making progress in our region.

In addition to the military personnel at the base, there are thousands of civilians working there to help keep our Air Force running. Nearly 12,000 total personnel are employed at the base, with a total payroll of over $520 million. For perspective, the City of Tehachapi's entire population is just under 9,000. The economic impact of the base is felt all over our region and into Los Angeles County.

Just because we're relatively small when compared to the operation at Edwards, doesn't mean that we can't have a part to play in supporting their successes. Many of the employees at the base, and the other amazing aviation centers of eastern Kern County, call Tehachapi home. Still others choose to visit Tehachapi on their days off, to escape the heat and to enjoy our great small mountain town atmosphere. The Commander of the 412th Test Wing, Brigadier General Carl Schaeffer, has indicated to Councilwoman Nixon that officers, enlisted, and civilian personnel all enjoy short getaways to Tehachapi.

To celebrate and recognize the great contributions of the men and women throughout all of the branches of the military, we'll be opening our new Freedom Plaza on June 30, 2016, at the corner of Curry St. and Tehachapi Blvd. The new plaza will feature a stunning one-of-akind monument consisting of individual pieces recognizing the five branches of the military, as well as host a new Visitor Center being run through a partnership with the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council and the Tehachapi TOURISM COMMISSION.

This new jewel in downtown was paid for with redevelopment funds, a Community Development Block Grant, and a generous donation from Lehigh Heidelberg Cement. It will provide better downtown parking, a place for visitors to learn about the places to visit and things to do throughout all of the greater Tehachapi area, and most importantly, it will create a place to celebrate our nation's military and their contributions to our freedom and our community.

As always, if you ever have any questions or comments regarding anything happening in the City of Tehachapi, I encourage you to call me at (661) 822-2200 or contact me at


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