From the pictures I’ve seen on patch.com and Facebook, it looks like lots of people attended the recent Art Hop in Banning. There were multiple events going on that day, including the Banning Chamber of Commerce golf tournament I played in.
I’ve been to every Art Hop since the beginning and it appears to be growing and drawing more people. If they had held in on a Saturday AND Sunday, think of how many people could have attended and how much business could have been brought to Banning. Now there’s something worth considering.
With a myriad of activities from face painting to live music, the crowd is entertained and the vendors (do they all have a Banning business license?) rake in the dough.
A two-day or weekend event could be structured to intentionally have people stay in Banning’s hotels and motels, eat in local restaurants and fuel their vehicles before they leave town. That’s what I would call economic development!
A concert or concerts could be planned for the evening which would draw a whole new crowd. If it ran late, which it should; people would be encouraged to stay in Banning for the night. This could then be marketed as an economic development where all local businesses could benefit.
With full respect due to the hundreds of people who volunteered thousands of hours to put the Art Hop on; in truth, it is a one day party for locals. If 5,000 people came to the Art Hop, how did Banning businesses benefit? Probably none; save for some people who might have needed to get gas anyway.
The City of Banning doesn’t have a budget problem, it has a revenue problem! Bring something to the city that generates money; be it a concert, jobs, something to generate sales tax and possible a weekend Art Hop.
Mayor Hanna announced at the Banning city council meeting on Tuesday night that the start of construction of the justice center will not begin until at least January, 2012. Does this mean the whole city is put on hold? It doesn’t seem likely that the Village at Paseo San Gorgonio will proceed without shovels in the ground for the justice center. Developer Art Pearlman said so at a recent planning commission meeting.
For the time being, Banning’s largest asset is the 150,000 or so cars that drive by on the I-10 freeway each day. Why not do more to lure them to come to Banning, spend their money, enjoy themselves and leave? A reason to stay might be to see the potential and open a business here.
Hiral Patel knows all about picking up overnight guests at his Hampton Inn in Banning. Over a period of two months, the Coachella Valley saw hundreds of thousands of people flock to big events like: Coachella, Metalica and Stagecoach.
It a recent email, Patel said, “As more and more people are attracted to those events, we see a short-term rise in occupancy. There is a direct connection with any city and its surrounding cities and specifically for Banning; the Coachella Valley is one of those direct connections.”
While Banning should continue to benefit from heavy freeway traffic, bringing people to town to spend money in our businesses should be of primary importance in this city’s economic salvation.
Bud Mathewson will be missed. I don’t think there was a person who cared more about preserving the history of Banning than Mr. Mathewson. He, his tripod and video camera were at every event in Banning. He has created an enormous archive of videotape history of this city.
I hope a person or a group will acquire these tapes and edit to usable lengths, crediting Mr. Mathewson. I am concerned that nobody has stepped forward to fill Bud’s shoes when it comes to chronicling all things Banning.
Maybe this is a project that could be taken on by a service club. I would suspect that appropriate grants could be sought for such an important historic endeavor. A 501 (c) 3 would have the best chance of succeeding. Any takers?