Twentynine Palms, Ca.,- I was searching for my 2011 post on Cactus Thorns when I ran across this story, “Community Divided Over Project Plan,” by Courtney Vaughn dated November 30, 2011, (updated December 7, 2011). It is important to review what took place back then at one of the outreach meetings for Project Phoenix.
Of note is the quote by Jim Ricker of G-5, warning everyone the base construction is winding down. He said that will have an impact on the TOT, bed tax revenue, Twentynine Palms has been enjoying for several years. At that same meeting, Ricker stated he did not see any revenue generating out from Project Phoenix and confirmed my concerns about the maintenance costs that I brought up in my post of April 24, 2014, “Questions for the Phab Project Phoenix Folks.”>LINK
Here are a few excerpts from Vaughn’s 2010 story:
“How are you repaying the bonds? Is that coming out of RDA money?” Liz Meyer asked.
Former City Councilman Steve Spear pressed the issue further, asking, “Should the Supreme Court in January rule that RDAs can no longer exist … how will the city repay the bonds?”“What is it going to cost to maintain those facilities?” Margo Sturges of Yucca Valley asked. Warne estimated it will cost about $115,000 a year to maintain the wastewater treatment plant. He said it’s unclear what the cost of operating the community center will be, but the city anticipates revenues from renting the facility.Aside from concerns about the bonds, others felt the Project Phoenix plans, which include a community center, a theater, workforce housing, a wastewater treatment plant, underground utilities and improved alleyways, curbs and sidewalks, are unrealistic.“This is way too grandiose,” Ben Holstrom suggested of the plans. “Is there a Plan B to further improve the infrastructure of the redevelopment area?” Spear asked.A total of 39 properties lie within the project area. Of those properties, 21 are vacant. “How long does it take for eminent domain to take place?” Yucca Valley resident Bob Sturges asked. Warne and Spevacek said they don’t anticipate having to use eminent domain, but if it came to that, the move would require a super majority vote from City Council, as well as a court trial and public hearing.Jim Ricker, assistant chief of staff for the community plans liaison office at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, noted that many of the hotels and restaurants are being patronized by out of town contractors working at MCAGCC, but they won’t have work here forever. Once the contractors leave, the city may be left with an economic void.