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State of the City: ‘Moving up'
Annual event gathers community and county leaders
BARSTOW • The city is “on the move,” Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre told a crowded room at the Hampton Inn on Wednesday during the annual State of the City.
The event brought together local and county government officials, along with local business owners and the leadership of both nearby military bases, to mingle and discuss the progress of the city and county within the last year relative to future progress.
“The economy is looking up and there’s a lot of good things coming down the pipeline for Barstow,” Hackbarth-McIntyre said.
She presented the city’s unemployment numbers which have slightly improved from 14.9 percent, the average rate of last year, to 13.2 percent in the month of March.
“We’ve got abundant resources that are untapped,” Assistant City Manager Oliver Chi said in a video presentation.
According to Chi, the city has made a lot of progress in commercial and industrial development with a focus on completing the infrastructure for the Industrial Park.
Hackbarth McIntyre discussed the progress of several city projects including the Montara Place Wal-mart Supercenter project, the Barstow Film Office and further L Street development.
Hackbarth-McIntyre also outlined her involvement in the Barstow Courthouse and reviewed the status of the Barstow Casino.
“That is moving right along,” she said. “We’re looking forward to that project coming one step closer.”
Fort Irwin Garrison Commander Col. Kurt Pinkerton briefly discussed the Army’s upcoming reduction of forces from 570,00 to 490,000 soldiers. He said the base is capable of housing 85 percent of its Army population with the remaining 15 percent living in High Desert cities.
About seven percent live in Barstow, he said. The base still has one phase of family housing to complete, which is a $30 million project.
“We’re here to stay and all of our construction also shows that we’re not going anywhere,” he said. “Our mission is critical to the nation. There is nothing that we’re tracking or we see right now that is going to impact the NTC.”
Col. Michael Scalise from the Marine Corps Logistics Base discussed the strategic location of the military storage yard in the dry desert climate of Barstow. He said the base’s 30 million square feet of open lot storage could not be duplicated at the MCLB’s sister base in Albany, Georgia.
“As that gear comes back from Afghanistan that open lot storage becomes much, much more precious,” he said. “We are the warehouse for the Marine Corps. Right now that is something that is very important. It needs to be done and all of this gear needs to be maintained in a high state of readiness.”
Beverly Lowry, the Barstow community representative for Third District Supervisor James Ramos, said she was speaking in Ramos’ place because he “overbooked” himself.
“The culture of the board of supervisors is working as a unified board,” she said. “Supervisor Lovingood and Ramos work together really well. I haven’t seen that in a long time.”
She said both of the supervisors are working together to support the efforts to receive more court funding for San Bernardino County. She also reviewed a number of separate items of business that Ramos is involved in. He is supporting a grant application for Desert Manna and is an advocate of expediting the Lenwood Road project with the San Bernardino Associated Government (SANBAG), she said.
First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood represents all of the unincorporated areas near Barstow including Hinkley, Newberry Springs and Yermo. He summarized news happening within the county. He said a silver mining project by Pan American Silver Corp. that is in the works at Calico could “change Barstow forever.”
Contact the writer: BSelf@DesertDispatch.com or 760-256-4123.