PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The City of Palm Springs unveiled some new programs Tuesday at its 3rd Annual Community Business Forum designed to make it easier to grow or start a business in Palm Springs.
“We’re here to hear from local residents, business owners, workers...sort of everyone in the community on what we can do as a city to support local businesses,” said Christy Holstege, councilmember.
Several current and future business owners showed up to the forum to hear what changes they can expect in the near future.
“One of the things I’ve been hearing is they’re going to streamline the process because we can’t wait two years for things to be built when you go through the permit process," said Ginny Weissman, a local busines owner.
The city confirmed at the forum they plan to improve their online interface: “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to figure out how to open a small business," added Holstege. They say they're hoping to make it easier for business owners to submit permits online and see real time updates on projects.
The city is also launching initiatives to fill vacant spaces downtown and setting aside $700,000 of the budget to grow local business. An additional $200,000 will be set aside to promote tourism.
They've launched campaigns like “Uniquely Palm Springs” encouraging local business owners to use the hashtag "#uniquelypalmsprings" to gain recognition on social media. “Our local businesses are the heart of our economy and really make Palm Springs that much more unique so we want to highlight them," said Holstege.
The forum allowed comments and questions from the audience -- many sharing their own ideas to stimulate and better the economy.
“People in downtown think they’re downtown and so they don’t go past Alejo they stop and turnaround. So the goal is to get more people in uptown and more parking in uptown," said Tony Marchese, owner, Trio restaurant.
Many businesses also thanked the city for creating a forum where they could openly discuss the issues that matter to them.
“I’ve lived in Chicago and LA...I’ve lived here now 11 years...this is so important to me that I can actually have access to our officials...some of them have actually become friends. I can text them I can call them that means a lot to a business owner that you have absolute access to the people that can really make a difference in your business," said Weissman.
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