FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Two rural communities of Fresno County were awarded $2 million for infrastructure improvements, accessibility, and safety during a check presentation on Tuesday, officials announced.

Officials say the $2 million is for the improvement of streets, sidewalks, and drainage facilities in Cantua Creek and El Porvenir in Fresno County. Street repairs, curb ramps, and drainage facilities will be installed, and sidewalks leading to Cantua Creek Elementary will be constructed.

“The kind of infrastructure that allows people to be able to, children, to be able to walk to schools, elderly to be able to walk safely on the sidewalks, families to be able to enjoy time outdoors,” said Senator Anna Caballero.

Caballero says it is important to provide money for these communities because county unincorporated areas are built to county standards. Once they get a critical mass, they will need the kind of sidewalks and curbs that would make it easier for children to go to school.

“I’m very, very familiar with rural California and with the needs of communities that said ‘look, we don’t have a lot of resources here, we need help’ and with counties, we say we have a lot of territory to cover, we need help, and if the state can come in, and I can advocate for rural California, I’m there. That’s what this is all about,” she said.

Caballero says she wants to focus mainly on the different county unincorporated areas. She says it has been a year-long process, but it was an important step for the community that made them believe somebody is listening to them.

“All of us have stories to tell, and those stories are challenges, right? But if there was somebody there that believed in you, that’s made all of the difference in the world,” Caballero said.

The project will address flooding risks and improve safety and accessibility. Caballero says it might take nine to 12 months for the county to get the resources and start building. The community will be back with a new project in 2024.