The Needles Nugget for February 2012:

Needles, CA: The Needles Nugget for February 2012:

By Elaine Cullen
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Hello Needles! Our community meetings are completed, the results are in and we have an action plan to start the City’s economic recovery and revitalization, so get ready – we’ll need your help and support to make it happen! There is already an excitement building in the local community, and positive, can-do comments are being heard throughout the City!

For starters, thank you to everyone in the community who participated in our community meetings! Your thoughts, ideas and input were very important in better understanding Needles’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and were the basis of our proposed plans to move forward.

We also want to extend a special thank you to Mike Brady & Juicy’s River Café for providing meeting space for our seminar “Using Social Media to Market Your Business”, and to Eden Rudin, owner of The Social Garden, for donating her time to conduct the seminar. We had 23 attendees, an excellent turn-out – Congratulations to those of you who have already started your new Facebook (FB) pages! As many of you requested, the City has arranged for a follow-up seminar; Eden has graciously agreed to conduct the seminar free of charge and Frontier Communications has generously provided the use of their facility!

The follow-up seminar will be held on Tuesday, February 28th. We will have two sessions. The morning session will be for new or less-experienced FB users and will be offered from 9am-11:30am. Eden will set up an actual business FB page and answer any additional questions you may have related to using FB. The afternoon session will be for more “experienced” users of Facebook and will run from 1pm – 3:30pm. Rather than a structured agenda, we will take your questions and address specifically what it is you need to learn – your questions will be our agenda. You may bring your laptops to either class.

The seminars will be held at Frontier Communications’ facility located at 911 Broadway (across from Red Dog); parking is on the east side of the building. Due to limited space, RSVPs are required! Please send your questions or reservations via email to Elaine.Needles@gmail.com no later than Thursday, February 23rd!

As mentioned above, the results are in and we have a multi-faceted plan to revive the City of Needles. Our biggest challenge is to better our image, both inside and outside of our city boundaries; it is critical for us to start and finish a project that will be a noticeable change and enhance our image in the process. We have to show both our local residents and our visitors that we CAN revitalize our city and that those efforts are underway.

It is very clear that El Garces is critical to our downtown revitalization. The City is working very closely with Congressman Lewis, OmniTrans and the FTA to get the grant audit completed and the funds released. Until that happens, we have two smaller projects to get us started.

San Bernardino County has offered to loan us their 12 x 12 foot stencils of the Route 66 logo to paint on our portion of Route 66 throughout the City. The Route 66 logos we have now are great, but a little too small to be noticeable. We need to “ramp up” the Route 66 presence from end to end and these stencils will allow us to do that for very low costs. WE NEED YOUR HELP! We need a flat-bed truck or maybe a pick-up with stand-up racks, 4 volunteers to pick up and return the stencils, and we need to buy the paint. (The stencils are 7’ x 12’.) We can only keep the stencils for 3 weeks, so we have to be ready to start once they arrive in Needles.

The 2nd project is a “community enhancement project” at I-40 West at the Broadway West exit on the city-owned triangular property; currently the site is empty except for small, directional signage. This site will be visible to our residents as well as visitors getting on/off I-40 westbound. A concept was presented at the City Council meeting on February 22nd; we have received lots of feedback and are in the process of redesigning the project. Once approved by the City Council, we will hold a volunteer fair to solicit donations for time, money and/or materials. We hope to have the final design of the project and approval from the City Council by mid-March.

Also in the works: discussions with Starbucks, Subway, a solar project and a dollar store (confidential); preparing for attendance at a future trade show to market the city-owned 27 acre site behind Basha’s; increasing social media presence; attraction of new events and focused tourism efforts, scheduling a city-wide volunteer fair, planning for the City’s Centennial in 2013 and many more projects/activities. You can request a copy of the City Council presentation via email and I’ll be happy to forward it to you – it is in Powerpoint format.
Needles has so many opportunities! It is clear that restoring Needles to those familiar days before I-40, when Route 66 was the only Road, is our greatest opportunity. It’s our nostalgia that everyone remembers so fondly and we don’t have to create the nostalgia – it’s here – it’s just a little worn-down. WE can bring it back to life if we all work together – businesses, residents, and our regular visitors who want us to succeed!

I truly believe Needles can have a bright and renewed economic outlook, and I will work side-by-side with you to make it happen. I have recently been elected as President of the NEDC – this is strictly a volunteer position and my time with the organization will not be billed to the City. I have also joined the Chamber of Commerce and donating my time there with various events. We need you to adopt that same spirit – erase “can’t” from your vocabulary and replace it with “YES WE CAN!”

Don’t forget that Readers Digest is once again sponsoring the “We Hear You America” contest. The contest goes until March 1 and winning cities get money for specific projects. We have slipped from 8th place and we’re being passed by towns with less population than we have in Needles! How much easier does it get to support your community – you don’t have to leave home and it doesn’t cost anything! Go to http://www.ReadersDigest.com/America to register and vote today. You can vote as many times as you want every day! PLEASE support this major local effort to improve and benefit our City.

Just a reminder to like the “City of Needles” Facebook page; you can always contact me at Elaine.Needles@gmail.com. I welcome your comments, feedback and suggestions. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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