High Desert Collaboration Earns Vision In Action Award

High Desert city managers celebrate the Vision in Action Award, presented to Opportunity High Desert by SANBAG. From left are Doug Robertson, Victorville; Mike Podegracz, Hesperia; James Hart, Adelanto; Curt Mitchell, Barstow; Frank Robinson, Apple Valley.

By Staff Reports

(Apple Valley)– In a post-redevelopment climate, cities have had to find new ways of attracting commercial and industrial projects. The High Desert has met this challenge by forming Opportunity High Desert, an alliance of staff and elected officials focused on strengthening a regional identity, and pooling resources to market to prospective developers.

“We realize that any major development in the region brings widespread economic benefits,” said Frank Robinson, Apple Valley town manager. “Regardless of where the development begins, it has a positive ripple effect throughout the entire regional economy.”

This partnership between Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia and Victorville was recently presented with the “Vision in Action” Award by the San Bernardino County Association of Governments (SANBAG) at the general assembly meeting.

Janice Rutherford, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and SANBAG president, presented the city managers with a mariner’s telescope, to represent the unified vision for the region. The effort was commended as an outstanding demonstration of collaboration.

In attendance were managers Jim Hart of Adelanto, Frank Robinson of Apple Valley, and Mike Podegracz of Hesperia. Also recognized were Curt Mitchell, Barstow, and Doug Robertson, Victorville.

Robertson likened regional efforts to a quote favored by Ronald Reagan. “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”

“We all have abundant land and we all have an eager workforce. Why not combine our voices to carry that message further?” added Hart.

Opportunity High Desert reflects the Countywide Vision Statement adopted last year by the SANBAG board, which is made up of the five county supervisors and representatives of each of the 24 cities within the county. The two main implementation goals of the Vision Statement are partnerships and establishing San Bernardino County as a business-friendly model in the state.

“Each agency has a unique identity, with different gaps in that city’s marketplace,” said Podegracz. “In collaboration, we can recommend a location in the High Desert to fit almost any site selector.”

Opportunity High Desert has created a collaborative display booth and unified marketing materials to emphasize regional strengths. Exhibiting at trade shows and direct outreach to site selectors and developers are a few of the tactics the group will employ.

“A big employer will bring jobs, home sales and increased demand to service industries across city lines,” said Mitchell. “By effectively working together, we can be more successful in bringing these opportunities to the High Desert region.”

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