Wednesday, September 20, 2006

PLATFORM: Economic Development



For much of it’s history, Barstow has suffered as an economically depressed community. Almost a year ago, the City of Barstow received the State designation of the “Enterprise Zone”. This is a wonderful program that could bring an influx of new business and jobs to Barstow through various incentives such as tax credits. Yet a year later, the City has little to show for having secured this designation except a WalMart warehouse. After the WalMart store came to town, it became the end to the Barstow Mall and we lost Sears, Kmart, and many “mom and pop” businesses throughout the City. That Mall has sat empty and boarded up ever since. Recently the Mayor went on a junket to China to try and convince the Chinese to make Barstow a dumping ground for cheap plastic products. Still he secured nothing for his efforts except a vacation while the Outlet Mall continues to suffer from declining business. Downtown Main Street is suffering and in desperate need of redevelopment and yet no plan exist that has the vision to make this happen. There are many vacancies up and down Main Street and the current businesses are struggling. With a little vision and innovation we could and should be bringing in some environmentally friendly industries. We should definitely be giving preferences to industry that favors the American workers. We should also play off our image as a “Route 66” City and focus on Barstow as a tourist destination. As part of the Mojave River restoration we could create a recreational lake/reservoir such as were created by the Feather River project. This could add water recreation activities including fishing, boating, and camping such as was created at Lake Silverwood, Perris Lake, etc. But again this takes vision and innovation while currently, there is a total disconnect between the City and the business community.

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