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Turn tourism manager loose with ideas

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webmaster | 06/04/13

Madera County District 3 Supervisor Rick Farinelli talks more about making Madera more business friendly.

There are things that can be done to bring industries, such as going to zero impact fees, and go to the school district and try to get them to bring down their fees, which are the highest in the valley. That’s one way to bring in development.

The other way is to have a really active committee that basically goes out and tries to bring in businesses from other places in the state and the nation. I would look at companies that are basically in good shape but struggling where they are because of the cost of doing business in those areas. We are working on that right now.

A few years ago, I met Dan Cunning, before he became the executive director of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau. He has done a wonderful job with little money, basically boosting Yosemite and Oakhurst traffic through Madera County. He has done a great job helping boost the Madera Wine Trail.

A lot of people don‘t know, but Dan Cunning is one of the greatest sports authority people in the country. I am working with him to try to make Madera County one of the biggest sports centers in the state. For example, the county could be the Palm Springs of the central valley with all the golf courses we have. Dan helped me bring in the Bobby Sox national softball tournament, which will be played here in July. We had to work with the city and the schools to get fees for use of the field cut.

That will mean one week of full hotels, restaurants, gas stations, maybe they’ll take a trip to Yosemite while they’re here.

We have one of the best skateboard parks in the country. So, why not have skateboard tournaments that bring visitors into the city? The same thing with horseshoes. They have an idea to put 12 more pits in and bring quarterly tournaments into the city.

Why not have a state soccer cup here in Madera? We are the center of California. It would bring a lot of people here.

Dan Cunning, if we let him do it, will make this happen. We need to invest in his ideas and programs for that. It may not sound like much, but you’re talking anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 on a weekend.

The interview with Farinelli will conclude on Wednesday.


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