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The Harris-Lesh family from Arizona stops by the Western American Railroad Museum on Friday. From left, Joseph, Jennifer and Craig study railroad history.

City renews Chamber of Commerce funding plan

$100,000 given to help promote Barstow tourism, filming and local business

BARSTOW — The city will provide $100,000 to the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau in return for their services of boosting tourism, filming, and businesses in the area.

At a July 21 meeting Barstow City Council unanimously approved a contract that will provide the Chamber of Commerce with $50,000 a year for the next two fiscal years.  The agreement expires in 2010 and requires that the chamber match the $100,000 from the city.

Cory Baker, director of publicity for the Chamber of Commerce, said that the chamber can more than match the money through fundraisers, membership fees, and souvenir sales.

The city and chamber have had similar agreements for the past four years, but there are several new items in this contract, said Ron Rector, economic development manager for the city.

One new item is that the chamber will join the Inland Empire Film Commission. This membership will help the city coordinate with movie and commercial directors who are looking for a filming site, such as the Harvey House, old gas stations or buildings of interests in the Barstow area.

The city does not charge for filming in the Barstow area, but a permit is required to film on Bureau of Land Management land. The city and the chamber are looking into a year-long permit that would allow filming on BLM property, Rector said.

Another new item in the agreement is the chamber’s participation in International Council of Shopping Center trade shows and events. Rector said the city participated in a trade show in May 2008 and three Chamber of Commerce members attended at their own expense. The new agreement includes trade shows in order to introduce and attract businesses to the Barstow Area, Rector said.

Andrea Goodwin is interning with the Desert Dispatch this summer. To reach her, call (760) 256-4126.

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