villageba-thumbThe reformed-in-2008 Village Business Association took center stage at Monday’s meeting of the Improvement Agency of Big Bear Lake, which is overseen by Chairman Liz Harris and the four other members of City Council. Prior to a presentation by the VBA, the City’s Redevelopment Director Lyle Haynes presented study findings on Village traffic, lighting and parking, and then presented six recommendations. Those six improvements, each of which Council agreed to move forward on, are: provide an integrated, advance signage program near City entry points; rename segments of Paine Road and Lakeview to Big Bear Boulevard (to alleviate visitor confusion); develop travel lane and parking along drainage channel between Pine Knot and Knickerbocker for an “eastern gateway” to the Village; consider a two-hour parking time limit in Village L (on Village Drive and Pine Knot); provide pedestrian passageways from Bartlett parking lot to Pine Knot; and improve overall Village lighting for consistency and safety. The 80+ members of the Village Business Association were well represented at the March 9 meeting and, per their President Charlie Brewster of the Robinhood Resort, “The Village is the soul of the Valley. We need business dollars.” Citing statistics that retailers are down as much as 40%, and restaurants and lodges down 20-30%, Brewster asked Council for their help in economic development, citing needs such as improved parking and lighting, among others. City Manager Jeff Mathieu told the VBA crowd that their presentation was timely, as city staff begins the budget process. Mathieu suggested that the VBA return to Council soon (while city staff addresses VBA requests) and, he added, “We’ll see what we can attack in a powerful way.” In a subsequent conversation with City Manager Mathieu, he tells KBHR, “We are indebted to Lyle Haynes and his collaboration with the VBA for this first major step to revive the Village.”