Caltrans grants $3 million to Dinuba beautification

Dinuba Plaza clock looking south from Splash Pad area. (Kenny Goodman)

Dinuba receives $2.9 million from Clean California grant program for beautification and renovation of downtown Entertainment Plaza

DINUBA – Beautification efforts in Dinuba will continue thanks to a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) grant awarded to the city.

Dinuba received $2.9 million from the Clean California Local Grant Program for renovation and beautification work at Entertainment Plaza, Caltrans announced Oct. 9. This award is part of nearly $115 million distributed to underserved communities in the second cycle of the program.

“The grants are a key part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, which is a sweeping $1.2 billion, multi-year commitment led by Caltrans to clean up trash, create thousands of jobs and help communities beautify their public spaces,” a Caltrans news release said.

Representatives from the city of Dinuba were unavailable to provide comment on the project by the press deadline.

Previous beautification projects within the city include the landscaping on the roundabout at Nebraska Avenue and Alta Avenue and the downtown “Adopt-A-Planter” program.

Entertainment Plaza

Entertainment Plaza is located at the corner of L Street and Ventura Street in Dinuba, near Platinum Theatres. City staff have been working on design plans for the site since at least early 2022, when the city partnered with Sierra Design Landscape Architecture to create a master plan for the plaza.

According to the Caltrans award list, the Dinuba Entertainment Plaza Renovation & Beautification Project includes infrastructure and non-infrastructure “community placemaking elements,” which are meant to foster community building around public spaces. This involves urban greening — the blending of greenery with a city environment — multicultural features, like public art representing local history, and volunteer litter cleanup. 

The project will add shade structures, benches, shade trees, picnic tables and art murals to the Entertainment Plaza area. It will also involve a renovation to the pavilion stage and the installation of low-water usage landscaping features, which showcase the city’s “commitment to resource conservation while maintaining the plaza’s aesthetic appeal,” according to Caltrans.

“These renovations are aimed at creating a more vibrant, inviting and sustainable cultural hub for all Dinuba residents to enjoy,” the project description said. 

The Entertainment Plaza design plan has five zones: an entertainment area, a leisure zone, a kid/family zone, a monument area and “citizen row,” a walkway in the middle of the space running from Ventura Street to the movie theater parking lot off Kern Street. 

A city staff report from Feb. 8, 2022, attached to the design plan said that the overall plan “aims to improve the plaza within each area to encourage greater use and maximize the space that is a central feature of the downtown.”

Features in the plaza would include passive play equipment — such as a giant chess board and corn hole — in the kid/family zone, a band stage in the entertainment zone, art and seating in the leisure zone alongside the already-existing splash pad and another art piece in the monument area. 

Proposed for the monument area is a metal replica of the SpaceShipOne aircraft designed by Dinuba-raised aerospace engineer Burt Ruttan. Other artwork proposed includes large letters spelling out “Dinuba” in the leisure zone. 

According to Caltrans, the project will also install other public art murals “that embody Dinuba’s creative spirit and culture.”

Clean California

The Clean California Local Grant Program came from Assembly Bill 149, which passed the legislature in 2021, according to Caltrans. The program’s goal is to clean up the trash that accumulates in California’s public spaces and along roadways and to beautify roads, tribal lands, transit centers, parks, pathways and other public spaces.

An integral aspect of the program is the mitigation of the “heat island effect” whereby urban areas experience higher temperatures than rural areas because of their infrastructure.

For the Dinuba project specifically, the hope is that installing shade structures and trees will provide additional protection to residents during extreme heat waves, according to Caltrans.

The first funding cycle distributed $296 million to 105 projects in March 2022. In that cycle, the city of Orange Cove received $2.5 million to renovate Sheridan Park and update two of the city’s welcome signs along Park Boulevard. Further south into Tulare County, the cities of Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville and Woodlake also received grant awards. 

Grant applications for the second cycle were due at the end of April of this year. Projects awarded funding through this cycle must be completed and have expended all funds by June 30, 2026.

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