California is taking steps to use fairgrounds across the state during national disasters and emergencies. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has announced $89 million in grants to the Fairgrounds Resilience Centers Program.

The funding supports projects to install safe-shelter space, kitchen and sanitation facilities, and showers for people evacuating floods or other disasters.

The grant program is funded via the state’s 2021-2022 budget.

A news release notes the program will help fairgrounds shelter people, pets and livestock during emergency situations in addition to serving as a base camp for first responders.

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“This program is a prime example of the value of California’s fairgrounds,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross in a news release. “These grants will provide more than 460,000 square feet of new space for emergency sheltering, and they will position fairgrounds to offer their communities additional resources during climate-related disasters or other emergency events. The enhanced fairgrounds will also provide a unique opportunity for their communities to engage in the use of the facilities for other services and activities throughout the entire year.”

Construction for the fairground shelters is expected to begin as early as summer 2023.

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