Kern EDC gets a look at what's available in Taft

Taft hasn't had a lot of good economic news lately, and the closing of Kmart isn't going to help one bit.
Some people are getting discouraged, but other people are going to work to make things better and bring more business and jobs to Taft.
Wednesday, Taft Mayor Dave Noerr hosted a meeting that included former  Westside Oilman Fred Holmes, Chief of Police Ed Whiting, former Assemblymember Shannon Grove and two of the top people in the Kern Economic Development Corporation -- Chairman Richard Chapman and Melinda Brown, director of Business Development and Corporate relocations to show what's available in the industrial park east of Taft off Gas Company Field Road.
Noerr hosted the start of the meeting in his offices at Huddleston Crane.
He said it's important for the people who could help market Taft to see exactly what's available for new industry instead of just hearing about it.
"The whole purpose of the meeting was to bring together some of the stakeholders and the Kern Economic Development Corporation to come over here and see what we have in person," Noerr said.
After a 30 minute meeting inside the group headed outside to look at a 15-acre parcel of land next to Huddleston.
It's available either whole or in part for a new business.
"You have this property ...," Grove said.
"...And we're open for business. The City of Taft is open for business," Noerr added at the start of the meeting.
Brown said she aware of about the City's reputation.
"I've had many businesses look at Taft and I know that," she said.
Noerr and Whiting pointed to the City's operation of the Modified Community Correctional Facility and its consistently high ratings from the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation is an example of how the City works. 
It seeds right across the street from a row of oil-related businesses, including a clean-energy business with 22 employees and the building that houses a welding training program.
Chapman and Brown aren't strangers at all to Taft. Brown served with Whiting on the WESTEC Board of Directors and Chapman is on the Taft College Foundation board.
Still, Noerr said it was important for them to have a "boots on the ground" look at the shovel ready land available here in Taft.
Noerr said the meeting may already be paying dividends.
Brown told him she's been working a company looking at Kern County and the shovel-ready site at the industrial park, which has all utilities available, may be the right one.
Taft will be waiting, Grove said.
"What ever businesses you send here we'll give them the red carpet treatment."