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New grant will help assist Lancaster in emergencies


Additional resources for AV Fair & Event Center

In a significant move to strengthen community resilience during emergencies, including evacuations driven by flood, fire, and earthquake, the City of Lancaster and the Antelope Valley Fair Authority received a $20 million grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Fairs and Expositions Branch, as part of their Multi-Agency Regional Resilience Center (MARRC) Program.

“The receipt of this grant is a testament to the value of Lancaster's ingenuity, collaborative spirit, and resilience in the face of any challenge,” stated Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This grant will result in 240,000 square feet of new and renovated space for emergency sheltering and will empower our local AV Fair & Event Center to offer additional resources to our citizens during climate-induced or other emergencies. It also opens up unique opportunities for our community to engage in the use of the facilities for other services and activities throughout the year.”

The grant awarded to Lancaster and the AV Fair & Event Center will facilitate infrastructure projects, including creating a more secure shelter space, improving kitchen and sanitation facilities, showers, and other necessary upgrades, thereby ensuring protection and comfort for citizens and families of Lancaster and the entire region in times of need.

In addition, this grant will help to fund several completely new spaces, including an event center and auditorium, an Emergency Operations Center, a culinary community kitchen, and later, a renewable energy center. These improvements will also enable the City to broaden services and capabilities for a host of events throughout the year, enhancing the value of these community-based assets.

The new MARRC will bolster the region’s emergency preparedness capabilities, especially in response to the challenges posed by climate change. The new, grant-funded Emergency Operations Center will be used to support the emergency evacuation and shelter of people, pets, and livestock, while also financing facilities and tools to optimize the usage of these sites as base camps during emergency events.

Eventually, Lancaster’s MARRC will be powered by renewable energy, such as hydrogen, improving the resiliency of the site and continuing the City’s achievements as an international leader in green energy technology.

The grant funding was allocated as part of the 2021-2022 California general fund budget. A committee of CDFA stakeholders assembled to determine the criteria for the selection of the “Fairgrounds Resilience Centers” grant awardees. Criteria included the ease of access to and from the MARRC during an emergency event, the sites' climate resiliency, and their potential to serve severely disadvantaged areas.

Selected projects were evaluated by the CDFA for their potential to offer spaces for community use outside of emergencies, and to support year-round services and activities that strengthen the local community through civic, social, educational, and economic development initiatives.

The committee is composed of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), and representatives from the fairgrounds industry across the state of California.

Planning and construction work for the MARRC in Lancaster is scheduled to commence in fall 2024, after the design is finalized over the next year. The full list of grant awardees and summaries of their projects can be accessed at: