An imperative Business Watch Meeting was held at Studio D on January 9th, marking a collaborative effort between the venue, the San Bernardino Police Department, and the City of San Bernardino. This crucial gathering, which included Fourth Ward Councilman Fred Shorett as a guest speaker, focused on critical issues such as commercial business enforcement, tackling the challenges faced by the unhoused community, and overall city improvements.
Speaking to an engaged audience of local business owners and community leaders, Code Enforcement Officer Joshua Stringer provided a detailed overview of his department’s operations and challenges. “Our team of 14 field officers work tirelessly across the city,” Stringer explained, emphasizing the department’s limited resources in the face of diverse challenges. He encouraged using the SB GO app as a convenient tool for residents to report issues directly to the city. “This app not only streamlines the reporting process but also helps us prioritize critical cases,” he added.
Discussing the citation process, Stringer clarified the steps involved. “If a property owner ignores requests to clean their property, we initially issue a citation. Continued non-compliance may lead us to take legal steps to ensure cleanliness and safety,” he detailed, highlighting the department’s commitment to maintaining the city’s aesthetic and structural integrity.
At the meeting, it was also discussed that the City is constructing a Navigation Center at the former “School of Hope” campus to provide low barrier, non-congregate, interim housing to help address the root causes of homelessness. The campus will connect people to resources, medical respite, mental health, substance disorder counseling, individualized case management, job training and placement, and expanded access to permanent housing. It will also assist individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless as local agencies will be onsite to provide rental assistance and utility assistance to eligible households.
Councilman Fred Shorett provided comprehensive updates on various city developments. He shared the progress on the Carousel Mall site, stating, “The demolition has been completed, and we’re now sorting and recycling materials. This phase should wrap up by early February, marking a significant step in our city’s redevelopment.” Shorett also expressed enthusiasm about the new Public Works Director’s appointment and the upcoming hiring of an Economic Development Director, seeing these as crucial in driving the city’s growth and stability.
Shorett also spotlighted notable local athletes, including Terry Washington with Project Fighting Chance, preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics in boxing, and Jayden Daniels, the recipient of the Heisman Trophy. “We’re planning to honor Daniels with a key to the city and a parade from Cal State (San Bernardino) to Cajon High School on January 20th,” he shared, highlighting the community’s pride in its local talents.
Regarding new business openings, Shorett mentioned, “We’ve recently welcomed a Starbucks and Del Taco in the downtown 5th Street Gateway, showing signs of our growing business landscape.” He also announced a facade improvement program, a grant initiative aimed at helping businesses enhance their storefronts, further demonstrating the city’s commitment to supporting local enterprises; he says more information will be issued by the City in months to come.
The meeting concluded with a reminder of the next council meeting on January 17th and an appeal for volunteers for the Point in Time Count on January 25th, 5:15 AM, at the National Orange Show. The Point in Time Count is a critical initiative for understanding and addressing homelessness.