HUNTINGTON PARK — City officials are hoping that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas but comes to their community in the form of new businesses and development here.
The City Council Feb. 2 reviewed plans to allocate $12,000 for attendance at the International Council of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas May 22-25, despite protests from some that the trip is just a vacation for council members.
However, it was uncertain how many council members, if any, would go.
Planning Manager Manuel Acosta said the city needed four people to staff a booth and distribute materials promoting Huntington Park as a place to do business. He said he planned to go and would select two or three staff members unless one or two council members wanted to make the trip.
The presence of an elected city official is often helpful in networking with potential developers, Acosta said, adding he had already made initial contact with several fast-food restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and The Habit (hamburger) chain along with the Costco Warehouse store group.
He said those staffing the booth will have promotional materials as well as information on available sites.
“The convention is a premiere gathering for retail connections,” City Manager Edgar Cisneros said. “The Los Angeles area is a mecca for business. It’s important for council members to participate.”
In a written report to the council Jan. 19, Cisneros estimated a total cost of about $11,204, with $1,100 to rent a 10-by-10-foot booth space with a table and two chairs and an identification sign plus four entry badges; and $5,104 to send four employees to staff the booth and drum up business for the city.
Huntington Park has not attended the event in several years, but in the past has been successful in attracting name businesses, such as Starbucks, to the city.
Other expenses would include about $1,500 for gift bags, pens and small items to give away in the booth and about $1,000 to print marketing material, Cisneros said.
“The event is attended by more than 10,000 people a year, including retailers, developers and vendors,” Cisneros said. “This venue provides an opportunity to introduce the city of Huntington Park, market available properties and facilitate in-person deal making,” Cisneros said.
He noted that the city plans $3 million in upgrades to its main business district, Pacific Boulevard, to attract merchants.
Several non-Huntington Park residents of the group We the People Rising said the $12,000 should be used for aiding the homeless, but a resident called for bringing back a movie theater or a large sit-down restaurant, saying there was no place in the city for young people to go, so they spend their money in surrounding communities.