BY JULIE FARREN
The city of Beaumont is poised to move forward with its Economic Development Strategic Plan, which identifies the business industries that Beaumont would like to attract and retain to improve the city’s fiscal outlook.
The plan was approved by the Beaumont City Council on July 2 after almost a year of work by city staff and the Economic Development Committee to work on bringing a variety of businesses to Beaumont in sectors such as healthcare, retail, restaurants, technology and manufacturing.
The strategic plan presents a demographic profile of Beaumont and the relevant surrounding region and an evaluation of the city’s competitive positioning relative to 12 comparison cities including Banning, Yucaipa, Corona, Redlands, Rancho Cucamonga and Palm Desert, to name a few.
There also is an industry cluster analysis in the report.
In September 2018, the city council approved hiring the Natelson Dale Group of Yorba Linda as consultants for the strategic plan.
Three summit meetings featuring 54 stakeholders from hospitals, school districts, local businesses and city and county agencies were held so that discussions could take place to identify Beaumont’s strengths and weaknesses.
At the July 2 meeting, Economic Development Manager Kyle Warsinski and consultant Roger Dale presented an overview of the strategic plan for the council’s approval.
A more detailed plan was given at the June 4 council meeting and the plan has been available on the city website for review by the public.
Dale said that under the Business Development/Job Creation theme, four areas were identified: economic development marketing, business retention/expansion, industry targeting (retail and high wage employees), and entrepreneurial development.
Support strategies include real estate development, infrastructure development, workforce development and quality of life initiatives.
The city of Beaumont needs to look at creating a downtown environment and address housing development such as more multi-family housing.
Warsinski said that, as far as organizational efforts, the city will need to take 13 action steps, with sub-tasks, to produce the results they are looking for.
The city needs to reach out to partnering agencies, either forming relationships by starting from scratch, or reaffirming existing relationships with businesses, Warsinski said.
An economic development task force also will be established, Warsinski said.
Stakeholders who participated in the summit meetings spoke to the council about their support for the strategic plan.
Michael Curley, of Southern California Edison, said he believes “it is a very important strategic plan.”
John Ohanian, of Oak Valley Partners, said he enjoyed the robust conversation between the stakeholders at the summit meetings.
Linda Hanley, of the Bank of Hemet, said that the bank has always lent itself as a community partner and was happy to have participated in the meetings.
Karin Marriott, of Mt. San Jacinto College, said that the college has a long relationship with the city because it started in Beaumont in 1963.
Developer Bruce McDonald said he would advise the city to pick its top five priorities and focus on those priorities because they can not possibly solve all of its issues in two to three years.
His recommendation was to focus on the city’s branding as the top priority.
Council member Nancy Carroll said it is good to focus on the strengths, but she also wanted the committee to look at the weaknesses as well.
One of the things that Beaumont needs to work on is having a main entrance to the city, like Palm Springs and Coachella.
Carroll said they have great entrances to their cities.
Dale said he believed that the strategic plan does address that issue, under marketing and placemaking.
In the staff report, other issues that need working on include: traffic congestion at freeway off-ramps and lack of attractive downtown.
Council member Lloyd White said he appreciated the stakeholders time and participation in the meetings and the strategic plan.
He also agreed with McDonald about re-visiting the plan in a year and re-grouping to evaluate its success.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at email@example.com , or (951) 849-4586 x119.