Needles, CA: Economic Development Strategic Plan approved by members of the Needles City Council.
Members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously to approve a Economic Development Strategic Plan during the Needles City Council Meeting held on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 in Needles, California.
The public got to view the PowerPoint presentation of the Economic Development Strategic Plan by Mr. Michael Bracken, Managing Partner at Development Management Group Inc. and Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, as well as the public got to view the 60 page final draft of the Economic Development Strategic Plan 2014-2019 which was presented by the Development Management Group Inc. and gives information, analysis, 2013 population and 2018 population projection, population growth for 2013-2018 projection, regional census, percentage of population, educational attainment, income, percentage of families living in poverty, percentage of jobs, regional percentage of population who are unemployed and not in labor force, retail sales volumes by category, retail demand abd supply, information on partnerships with local and regional economic development organuzations, introduction to economic development recommendations, and much more.
Mr. Michael Bracken, Managing Partner at Development Management Group Inc. presented a PowerPoint presentation on the Economic Development Strategic Plan which the purpose is to understand where the community is at now demographically and economically; to determine the opportunities for economic growth and development; and to create the implementation plan with timelines and measurements.
Reading his Economic Development Strategic Plan presentation, Mr. Michael Bracken told members of the Needles City Council and the public that Economic Development is investment by private sector into a community in the form of construction, operations (Sale of products and services) and that Economic Development is not the City of Needles or any governmental entity.
“It’s not the City’s job dose,” said Mr. Michael Bracken adding, “How many times have we all heard” Well; the City’s job to get us a theater.” No, the City’s job is to have a geniral plan that would allow for a movie theater. The City’s job is to have a process in which a new movie theater was interest in coming — in the market to private market — that you can get from point A to Point B in 60 to 90 days, not 5 years.”
Reading his Economic Development Strategic Plan presentation, Mr. Michael Bracken informed members of the Needles City Council and the public about the 3 key numbers to fouces on in the economic opportuntities; 4.4 million cars annually on Interstate 40, 5.5 million to 6.0 million tourists a year on Colorado River and regional tourism, and a region includes 125,000+ residents.
“Some people would say there is 5,000 people in Needles. Ya — o.k. — I understand that; there’s 99 homes in the neberhood you live in. What dose that have to do with the price of tea in China? There’s 125,000 people in this community; there’s 4.4 million cars flowing by on the freeway; 5 1/2 to 6 million people playing on the river. Those are the numbers people are looking at,” said Mr. Michael Bracken.
To help in building an economy and to increase overall wealth in the community, Mr. Michael Bracken wanted members of the Needles City Council and the public to realize that the 3 key numbers are the real numbers to fouces on saying, “It’s not about the 5,000 people here, it’s about those 3 key numbers.”
Mr. Michael Bracken told members of the Needles City Council and the public that the Economic Development Strategic Plan was put together from: Quanititative Research (Demographic/Market/Statistical Information), Qualitative Research (Primary Research-Interviews), Physical Site Inspection(s)/Tours, and Experience (Economic Development is as much an art as it is a science!).
As part of the Qualitative Research (Primary Research-Interviews) process, over 20 members of the community and business leadership were involved which Mr. Michael Bracken told members of the Needles City Council and public that over 20 members of the business community he sat with in a day which was reportedly organized by a City of Needles Staff.
Continuing on his Economic Development Strategic Plan presentation, Mr. Michael Bracken talked about the different opportunity categories which includes: Retail/Restaurant, Hotel/R.V./Camping, Interstate Support/Location Based, Special Events, and Housing.
Mr. Michael Bracken informed members of the Needles City Council and the public about a handout that was put together with numbers put together by his team, images by Needles City Council Member Linda Kidd, and design of the free handout by Paul Stubler, General Manager at News West Publishing, and his firm.
The handouts titled, “City of Needles Retail Market Opportunities” is a 2 sided handout with information, numbers, and counts in both in Needles, California and around the Colorado River Tri- State area including the communities of Bullhead City, Arizona; Fort Mohave, Arizona; Lake Havasu City, Arizona; and Laughlin, Nevada.
According to the information stated in the “City of Needles Retail Market Opportunities” handout, the current population from 2013 to 2014 for the City of Needles is 4,909 people and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is 120,783 people. The 5 years projection population from 2018 to 2019 for the City of Needles is 4,961 people and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is 125,538 people.
According to the information stated in the “City of Needles Retail Market Opportunities” handout, the educational achievement for adults 25 and older with a High School Deploma or G.E.D. for the City of Needles is 35.38% and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is 33.27%. The educational achievement for adults 25 and older with Some College for the City of Needles is 29.59% and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is 32.19%.
Also in the handout, retail demand figures and listed the retails in category were presented under Retail Opportunities.
The retail demand figures do not includes the reported 5.5 million regional tourists and the 4.5+ million vehicles traveling on Interstate 40 annually, and the Retail demand figures states estimated 2013 consumer demand.
According to the information stated in the “City of Needles Retail Market Opportunities” handout, the Total Retail Demand for the City of Needles is $65.28 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $1.71 billion. For Automotive Parts: the City of Needles is $.86 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $23.48 million. For Grocery Stores: the City of Needles is $10.08 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $228.13 million. For Building Materials: the City of Needles is $6.05 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $167.08 million. For Clothing: the City of Needles is $3.02 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $71.31 million. For Full Service Restaurants: the City of Needles is $3.17 million and the River Region (Colorado River Tri-State area) is $82.69 million.
All of this information, according to Mr. Michael Bracken, is to help is marketing Needles, California and the surrounding region to bring in new businesses and industry in building in the community as well as to bring people to come play or live here in the community.
Members on the Needles City Council thanked and praised Paul Stubler for volunteering his services in designing the handouts for the City of Needles for free.
Mr. Michael Bracken ended with what are the City’s key to success; Continuity (Investment follows stability of community and business leadership); Economic investment follows communities that are capitalist, not protectionists; and Economic Development is relationship based (Most project take time to process permits, access capital)… the investors must have faith in the system and people.
Afterwards, members of the Needles City Council commented about the agenda item.
Needles City Council Member Linda Kidd spoke saying, “We have to be really proactive; Go out and find something; we’re cleaning up the town. I think that we got a lot of things in place that are working really well now and I think the Council is on board with taking the chance and getting out there and finding something. You know doing research on Michael, I think is probably the best man for the job and I really think this is the opportunity for us to… I think this is our best chance to have some… that if we don’t do it soon its just going to get worse and worse and I think we are in a good position to move forward on this draft.”
Speaking about the handout, Needles City Council Member Linda Kidd said, “I am really pleased, this alone is priceless to me because when Terry and some of us went down to the High Desert Conference we had a booth there and we didn’t really have any numbers; that’s what everybody asked about and you know, where aren’t experts in getting the numbers together, and this is what we need to be able to market. I mean, I will support Michael with this 100 percent. I really believe that this is what we need to do, and this is really really good; I like that, and if we did nothing more then today, to getting all this compiled is priceless for us, but we need a good sales man to go out and sell Needles.”
Mr. Michael Bracken informed both Needles City Council Member Linda Kidd as well as rest of the members of the Needles City Council and the public, “You are not paying me to do this you’re paying this (Holding up the handout). This is your product that we are now selling and I say that only because I’ve heard many communities who’s economical development efforts failed who came back and say, “Well they paid that person x amount of money to do this,” so I get slightly defensive and it’s not anything you said, it’s more than I want folks to see that what this one piece of paper does (Holding up the handout). Some community spending thousands to tens of thousands of dollars creating these books, we quantified the product; that’s all we have done is, what is the product of Needles that were asking people to invest in; what is that product? — What the product is — is you have folks in this community spending $65 million dollars a year in retail products, yet folks in the region spending $1.7 billion dollars a year. You have x amount of cars; 4.4 million — here’s the off ramp counts. The whole 9 yards, that’s the product.”
Mr. Michael Bracken told members of the Needles City Council and the public that what we have done it is a first step, which is important, and is what companies have in front of them. It’s what we will hang out to brokers and local developers.
Needles City Council Member Jim Lopez spoke saying, “You know — I think I have been on here for 5 years now — 6 years and I remember from the very beginning; and I’ve lived here all my life, I’d mention that the real… the reason Needles isn’t growing is we have everything to exceed. The river, the freeway, everything, the railroad, we have everything that Bullhead wishes they had; Havasu wishes they had, going right through the middle of the town. And… but, we always waited for somebody to just come to us. We never went out and market — we never went out and try to sell Needles and what the benefit of Needles were. We always use… we always got excited if we got a laundry mat. And the whole thing is — is — why is Bullhead taking right now? they had an economic plan and they went out and found businesses to come to Bullhead; of course it’s a little cheaper than California. Same thing with Havasu, they had something to sell they have a lake. Bullhead has the river. But they don’t have what we have and the old adjective is; and Needles has always done this for the 25 years I have been smart enough to understand what’s going on as far as growth and being in every single town around us, working everyday, and watch them grow, and coming home to Needles and watching Needles not grow, and what they had, was they were doing things differently. The old adjective is, ‘if you keep doing the same thing, you’re gonna get the same outcome’. That’s pretty much what I have seen Needles do for years and years and years and years, and I think; and I want to commend this council and I’ve been on 2 council — it’s like Mr. Gudmundsson said, “There are no hidden agendas, there’s nobody with an agenda here; other then the success of Needles.” And this — this to me isn’t a gamble; we either do it or we’re done. And — and, being a businessman owner you look for growth, you look for potential, and what you have to sell, and I think Needles has more to sell then any town around here. Everytime I drive through Blythe, 3 weeks a week, there’s more boarded up buildings in Blythe then in Needles, California and when I drive through there, I think they’re going through the same thing that Needles, California is going through; they’re exactly in the same place we are and they have 10 going right through them. And got a big solar panel… solar energy place there now, but that is all on County property; that’s not even Blythe. They got a prison and that’s outside of Blythe and Blythe doesn’t benefit much from it. So my point is, if we’re not proactive, and the community doesn’t stay together, and we don’t move down this path, and keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, you’re not going to have any success, you’re not gonna have any growth at all; you’re going to have exactly the same thing you have every time and people are gonna go through us. So I am really happy to be one of the Council Members that went out on a limb and brought in a great City Manager that has to concept to move the City forward and to find out the problems within the City to make a better City for staff and community-ship, and — and at the same time, bring in an Economic Development Company that knows how to sell your town. But I think we are on the right track. I think we just need to keep moving forward and looking forward, and there’s going to be more hurdles like for our Bashas deal, but we’ll get through it, we’ll get through it. That is all I got to say. I am totally impressed with your presentation. Everything that I looked in on the presentation, I’m like — that’s it; hit it right on the head, you hit it right on the head. So I’m really excited to see what comes out of this and I guaranteed you, everybody up here work with you to get it done.”
After members of the Needles City Council speak on the agenda item, the public got to speak about the Economic Development Strategic Plan.
Cathy McConnell, came up and spoke saying, “I can’t agree more with Mr. Lopez said and all the rest of you. I think you’re on the right track. There are only 3 people in this room that have been in Needles, as long as I have ever seen it growing or not growing, as long as I have. There’s 2 gentleman in the back and Mr. Frazier. We all sat and watched this town die, and we all sat and wished it would grow — maybe no to the point of Irvine — please don’t make it Irvine. But we need some things here, we’re either gonna die or we’re gonna make it at lease be a nice, comfortable place to live and that’s what we want. If we want to go to Las Vegas, we drive there, if we want to go to Irvine, we drive there; we don’t want to live in that suburban traffic riddan mess. But we need some jobs, we need some nice people living here. Needles use to have nice people living here; they worked here, they we’re proud of Needles and the 4 of us here remember that; we grow up in the best of times. But I can also tell you that Needles has been it’s own worst enemy because in 1951, my father-in-law was mayor here and he wanted the town to grow then and he had an element of people here who did not want Needles to grow any more then it was and at that time we had everybody living here that worked here and he was impeached by the people who didn’t want this town to grow. So it’s a very long battle that you (Speaking at Mr. Michael Bracken) have and you have never met a town like Needles — never. People think oh ya, it’s just another little town. No; it’s not. So I wish you well and I thankful for all of you. I think you’re doing a great job and I think you’re making the right decision and you know what, sometimes you got to walk the plank. We are either going to make it or we’re not going to make it and we’re going to die trying, and you know, you have to change the attitude of some of the negativism in Needles; watching these comments of Needles as of whole, and Needles is this dead zone, and Needles is nah nah nah; I mean, I am so sick of hearing the… just add an ‘s’ on the end of Needles and you have “Needless”; I mean, I am so sick of these jokes about Needles. I was proud to be from Needles, when we were racing, we advertised Needles all over the world; we were proud of Needles and I’m still proud of Needles or I would have never moved back here in 1987. So, good luck to you.”
After all the comments, discussions, and questions about this agenda item, members of the Needles City Council voted unanimously to approve a Economic Development Strategic Plan.
At the end of the Needles City Council Meeting, members on the Needles City Council thanked and praised Mr. Michael Bracken for his work on the presentation on the Economic Development Strategic Plan well he headed on out to eat well surrounded by some members of both the Needles City Council and the Needles Downtown Business Alliance.
Mr. Michael Bracken didn’t respond in time of the news story to our questions and was unable to talk to ZachNews after the Needles City Council Meeting.
** You can watch the videos of the Economic Development Strategic Plan Presentation is at the following ZachNews website addresses: **
** You can watch the videos of the Economic Development Strategic Plan Presentation is at the following ZachNews on YouTube website addresses: **
– Economic Development Strategic Plan:
– Economic Development Strategic Plan. Part 2:
** Community Comments: **
– What do you think of the Economic Development Strategic Plan?
– Do you have any questions or concerns regarding the Economic Development Strategic Plan?
Regarding members of the Needles City Council, the City of Needles Mayor, and organizations involve with the City of Needles such as the Needles Downtown Business Alliance and the Needles Chamber of Commerce:
– In the last 4 years, what do you think of their work?
– Do you have any concerns or suggestions you have to them on what needs to be fix, change, be done, remove, or would like your community to become?
– Is enough being done to help fix, solve, or address the issues and problems affecting the community?
Regarding the people in the community of Needles, California:
– Is the comments made during Public Comment about Needles, California all true and not?
** Please write your comments in the comment section on this news story on ZachNews. **
**** Thank You For Participating. ****