SOME RANCOR AS TWENTYNINE PALMS COUNCIL VOTES TO SUPPORT TOURISM EFFORT

SOME RANCOR AS TWENTYNINE PALMS COUNCIL VOTES TO SUPPORT TOURISM EFFORT

After spending more than 4 ½ years revising the city’s development code, the Twentynine Palms City Council thoroughly discussed the significant changes to the code, and then approved it at last night’s meeting. The new code should be in effect by the end of the year. The council also approved the special funds budget, which it uses to maintain the city’s streets and parks, among other items. The council then directed staff to use a projected $378,000 surplus from the special funds budget to install sidewalks on Baseline Road to Palm Vista Elementary School. Managing editor Tami Roleff says the council closed out the marathon, 4-hour meeting by discussing whether the city should contribute $40,000 to the Joshua Tree Gateway Communities marketing plan…
The Desert Regional Tourism Agency’s Joshua Tree Gateway Communities marketing plan intends to focus its marketing efforts to attract tourists to the Morongo Basin through online targeted advertising and social media. It will partner with events and attractions in the area—other than Joshua Tree National Park—to entice visitors who may not be interested in visiting the national park. DRTA has already received $40,000 from Yucca Valley, $20,000 from the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, and was at last night’s meeting of the Twentynine Palms City Council to ask for $40,000 for each of the next two years. Council member Macarthur Wright was not in favor of the plan. “The majority of visitors go through Joshua Tree; the Twentynine Palms entrance hasn’t seen an increase in visitors…. I don’t see how it benefits us…. I don’t agree with the name, I don’t agree with the budget, I don’t agree with the whole program.” When council members wanted to wait until next month, after a tourism summit, to decide if they should fund the marketing plan, DRTA president Cary Harwin said he refused to wait that long to get the funding. “If it’s not funded [tonight], I’m through with it.” Mayor Dan Mintz didn’t appreciate the threats. “I really don’t like to be threatened ‘If I don’t get the money I’m going home.’” But the council voted 3-1, with Cora Heiser absent and Wright voting no, to provide $40,000 to DRTA for one year, with quarterly reports on the progress and effectiveness of the plan.

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