A newly reorganized PassEDA, or Pass Economic Development Agency, hosted a city managers forum Wednesday morning at Morongo Golf Course at Tukwet Canyon, featuring movers and shakers of the region.

PassEDA emerged as successor to the Pass EDA, which had gone defunct a few years ago.

The breakfast event was moderated by Mt. San Jacinto College President Roger Schultz, who explained the organization’s intentions and vision of sponsoring speakers who can offer perspective on the quality of life in the Pass area with topics ranging from workforce training to economic development.

The city managers of Yucaipa, Calimesa, Banning and Beaumont shared kind of mini-state of the city snapshots of their towns, which Schultz pointed out had similar efforts of building regionally beneficial transportation infrastructure, water retention, flood protection, and retail recruitment projects that compliment the area’s art festivals, rodeos, and preservation of history and open space.

Yucaipa’s city manager Ray Casey highlighted some of the city’s efforts to expand existing businesses such as Sorensen Engineering, which has tripled its workforce due to Yucaipa’s partnership in keeping the company located there, as well as the success of Brewcaipa brewery.

Bonnie Johnson, city manager of Calimesa, talked about her city’s slow and steady growth, and promotion of its downtown area; while the city has been a late bloomer to development, Calimesa has been able to maintain its small town feel, she said.

Beaumont City Manager Todd Parton gave an overview of its many regional infrastructure projects, including construction of several interchanges and intersections; boasted about 1,300 permanent jobs on the horizon that Beaumont will soon have, and developments such as Beaumont Village, a 250-acre mixed-use residential and commercial project north of Highway 60, east of Potrero Boulevard that could be underway before the end of a decade.

Banning’s interim City Manager Rochelle Clayton was pleased to announce the recent groundbreaking of the 4,400-home Atwell community along Highland Springs Avenue, with homes potentially going up for sale within three years. The Rancho San Gorgonio project on Banning’s east end would include a sorely needed grocery store on that end of town. And the city has made efforts to invigorate home development and ownership, and business investments via fee suspensions and grant funding.

PassEDA will announce more programs soon. For information, visit the website at passeda.net.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.


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