City of Mendota Recovers from Drought
August 24, 2016
Mendota Resilience and Pride
By Emily McKay Johnson, Associate Editor
For many small San Joaquin Valley cities that have relied on agriculture to support their local economies, the four-year drought in California has dramatically increased unemployment and decreased business revenue. Mendota, a city west of Fresno, hit hard with a 45% unemployment rate, has constructively made calculated adjustments by residents and farmers to recover to its pre-drought economic level, according to Robert Silva, mayor of this resilient city.
“As we have been going through the drought the last four years," Silva explained, "Mendota [nicknamed Cantaloupe Center of the World] has been in the spotlight for its high unemployment, and a lot of our farmers are having a rough time. We have had a lot of bad publicity."
"In the last year or so we have weathered all this," he stated, "and things are positive now. Our farmers are really understanding how to use every drop of water. We have a lot of new business coming into the community. We have a housing boom that continues to grow, so things are definitely on the rise and we're standing very proud."
"A few years ago, high unemployment forced many people to move away, suddenly creating school classrooms with very few students; however, that has changed too," said Silva. “Student enrollment is growing and we have added on another school. It is very positive in Mendota; the doom and gloom of a few years ago has gone. Really, it's gone.”
"Financially we're in good shape and businesses are prospering,” Silva summarized. "It's good for our city, good for our citizens, and good for business.”