Resort Town Reimagined Workshop at the UCI Research Center
On Monday, April 8, 2019, representatives of the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council gathered for a hands-on workshop introducing the principles of integrated master planning as the clearest path forward for successful implementation of Borrego’s recently released draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
Over 40 attendees representing 20 local institutions, organizations, and businesses were joined by local government representatives, planning specialists, and economic development experts to discuss creating a roadmap to success for Borrego Springs as it comes into compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
This hands-on workshop focused on: examining the needs for Borrego’s working families and other disadvantaged communities, opportunities for community development and innovation, recognition of cultural landscapes, identification of hospitality sector needs and assets, alignment with current or future community plans, and potential governance vehicles and structures to implement an integrated planning approach.
Guest presenters included Danielle Dolan, Water Program Manager with the Local Government Commission; Kirby Brady, Senior Economic Analyst for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation; and Vonn Marie May, Cultural Landscape Specialist.
At the workshop, Danielle Dolan shared that the Local Government Commission has been a national leader in building livable communities for almost 40 years. As Director of the Water Program division of the Local Government Commission, Danielle’s area of expertise is in Integrated Master Planning, which connects sustainable groundwater management with economic development and land use planning through the formation of watershed management councils. Ms. Dolan conveyed how Integrated Watershed Management Planning principles apply to Borrego Springs in light of the recently released draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
Senior economic analyst for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Kirby Brady, introduced attendees to current and future demographic trends both locally in Borrego Springs and in the wider San Diego region, with an eye toward accurately identifying community needs both now and in the future. In addition to demographic trends, several areas for strategic economic development investment were identified.
With the Stewardship Council’s previous work and successes in bringing National Geographic’s Geotourism Program to Borrego Valley in mind, cultural landscape specialist, Vonn Marie May helped workshop attendees visualize Borrego Valley’s most precious natural, cultural, and historic assets which can help to enhance the visitor experience to Borrego Springs as well as the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
The consensus of workshop attendees was to ask Danielle Dolan to lead a working committee of community leaders tasked with scoping a proposed Integrated Master Plan. Such a plan will include assessing vulnerabilities of Borrego’s working families and other disadvantaged communities, exploring opportunities for community development and innovation, recognition of cultural landscapes, identification of hospitality sector needs and assets, alignment with current or future community plans, and articulation of potential governance vehicles and structures to implement an integrated planning approach.