A grassroots citizens committee is being organized by Newberry Springs residents to
address the community's poor business climate.
Over the last couple of decades, the population of Newberry Springs has been
steadily declining; its population is now roughly 60-percent of what it was. Home values have
been in a downward spiral long before the recession. The water table has continued to drop.
The introduction of urban sewage sludge, nitrates, and other toxic additives for farming
have been poisoning the land and water. The environmental quality and safety in Newberry
Springs has continued to decline.
The committee's mission will be to explore, recommend, and possibly implement
ideas to help jump-start the community's development and economic revival.
The need to create such a development committee has been causally
considered for a long time. The committee was finally initiated on September 28, 2015
at the last water meeting held at the Assembly of God Church in Newberry Springs whereat
Holly Shiralipour of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service introduced a 'Community
Development' sign-up sheet for those interested in participating. Although the committee
and its mission is not associated with the Baja Areawide Sustainability Plan, it is an outgrowth
Holly Shiralipour has further followed through on a recommendation
by Newberry's Fred Stearn to bring in students from Pomona's California State Polytechnic
University's Urban & Regional Planning Department of the College of Environmental Design.
It is currently being planned to have a class of students
and their instructor over a two semester term, working on capstone planning projects
that would prepare concepts, designs, feasibility studies, architectural overlays,
zoning development, and other proposals.
While the school and staff are supportive in their desire to
participate with Newberry Springs, they probably will not start at the commencement of the next
semester in January as originally planned; but at the start of the following semester.
Currently, not enough students have signed-up for the class this coming semester.
To augment the Newberry development committee, Monique Carter of the
San Bernardino County's Economic Development Agency will be participating; as well as
Chuck Bell of the Mojave Desert Resource Conservation District. Ron Frame will be
attending, representing the office of the county's First District Supervisor, Robert Lovingood.
Sharon Foster, Vice-President East, of the California Historic Route 66
Association will also be providing knowledgeable information regarding the recently completed
Route 66 Corridor Management Plan that runs through Newberry Springs.
Newberrians with of a number of Newberry's organizations have joined.
The committee is well represented.
To the west of Newberry Springs, the city of Barstow is also recognizing the
benefits of investing into the economic revival of Historic Route 66 that comprises the length
of its Main Street. Barstow has organized a public committee to assist the city and its
consultant, MIG, prepare a development
plan to revitalize Main Street from Interstate-40 to State Route 58; with an emphasis being
given to the Old Town District area between Barstow Road and First Street.
The California Historic Route 66 Association is participating on both
committees as a stakeholder.
Barstow's challenge is considered far easier than Newberry Springs as
Barstow has a far greater infrastructure and empty structures to work with and to place new
businesses into. Newberry Springs will basically need to start from scratch.
For that, a favorable foundation needs to be established, and it is hoped that the Cal Poly
students' work will help to lay that foundation.
At the time of this blog's release, the first meeting of the Newberry
Springs Community Development Committee is expected to held during the last week in December
to lay the groundwork of expectations for the Cal Poly students to work from; and to
explore the application of other opportunities that the community may avail itself of.
The committee is still open to energetic Newberrians willing to donate
their time and labor to better the community. If interested, please
connect with the e-mail address below.