Newberry Springs
Economic Development Committee
Holds First Meeting

Next meeting:  Jan. 7 at 10 A.M. • CSD building.

Participation by residents is highly encouraged.

Posted: January 1, 2016

    Fourteen people attended the first Newberry Springs Economic Development Committee meeting.  The meeting was held on December 28, 2015 due to an urgency to discuss two items.  A number of people who expressed interest in the committee were not able to attend due to the holiday scheduling.

    Holly Shiralipour of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, led the meeting.  Chuck Bell, a Lucerne Valley resident who has a past history and interests in Newberry Springs, and who is also with the Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District, was the principle guest speaker.  He spoke about the benefits of forming a corporation for the Newberry committee.  The Lucerne Valley's development organization, that Bell is currently president of, is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

    Lucerne Valley has about twice the population of Newberry Springs and has a better commercial base due to a religious group having built a shopping center beyond the community's economic justification.

    Bell stressed the importance of Lucerne Valley's close relationship with governmental representatives.  Lucerne Valley is organized with a Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) rather than a Community Service District.  A MAC allows for a greater cash flow to the community in the form of county services.  With a MAC, the community's basic services are handled by the county with a community council serving in an advisory capacity to the local county supervisor.

    Chuck Bell spoke of the significance of having a Community Plan prepared and submitted to the county during this period of the county preparing for its next General Plan.  Currently, Newberry Springs doesn't have a plan.  The last one prepared by the community 'wasn't up to snuff' and was mothballed by the county in its archives.  Consequently, the next General Plan may contain impacts unfavorable to Newberry Springs.

    Holly Shiralipour introduced the availability of Promise Zone grants.  Recipients are given special federal assistance for up to ten years in developing their communities and special priority in federal grants.  Being a recipient of this grant would be huge for Newberry Springs.

    Competition for Promise Zone grants is extremely competitive; only about 2-percent of the applicants win a grant.  Holly Shiralipour, however, believes that Newberry Springs has a chance and should apply.  Newberry itself doesn't meet the grant's qualifying population requirment of 10,000 by itself and would need to join other economically challenged communities in order to apply.  Deadline for submission of the grant is February 23, 2016.

    Ellen Johnson, Paul Deel, Chuck Bell, and Holly Shiralipour, discuss boundaries to qualify Newberry Springs for a possible Promise Zone grant.

    Sharon Foster, a resident of Apple Valley, is a Vice-President of the California Historic Route 66 Assocation.  She spoke at the meeting stating that the association would consider directing two to three thousand dollars in Newberry Springs for improvements along Route 66 that would support tourism.  Foster suggested that the funds could be used for interpretive signs.  Newberry needs to quickly present its ideas for the funds as they will be available for only a short time as the money is a part of expiring BLM funding.

    The meeting contained so much information (much of which is not covered by this blog), that the brainstorming and some other agenda items were postponed until the next meeting to be held on January 7 at 10 A.M. at the Newberry Springs Community Center at the south end of Newberry Road.

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E-mail: Request for committee participation.