Rialto: New Hotel and More To Come
By Dianne Anderson
This month marks the 110th anniversary for Rialto, which has come a long way from its historic vineyards and orange groves since it was first incorporated as a city in 1911.
Next up, add a high-end hotel to several projects in the works that will make friends and family as proud as Mayor Deborah Robertson was during a recent groundbreaking.
She said the city is more than ready to usher in its first-ever official hotel. The Ayres Hotel will be located at the Renaissance Marketplace, which has been open for five years.
“To think we’re just now getting a hotel of this quality and caliber,” she said. “It will be 135 beds, a lot of amenities, meeting space, and right behind the CineMark. We have other types of motels, but never a hotel.”
Robertson said she is also excited about the jobs potential of Bedding Industries of America, called white label manufacturing, which will have a showroom at the Renaissance.
“[That’s] generating about 200 to 300 jobs at that facility that will manufacture high-quality mattresses, constructed and sold under different brand names,” she said.
Earlier this month, the soft opening of Texas Roadhouse had standing lines at the sit-down restaurant, more indication of strong business ahead.
“Another major development is coming for the south end of the city bringing more retail and job opportunities, including a Sprouts and a Burlington. We’re kind of replicating some of the things that we have on the north end of the city, things to do to sustain multiple types of facilities,” she said.
Development is not only about warehouse and logistics, she added, but there is a movement toward white label manufacturing and the Green industry. Currently, the city is in brief talks about bringing in roughly 2,000 jobs with Green manufacturing.
“The jobs are not only producing something, but it is also skilled jobs to help [workers] get certified in a new world of new industry,” she said.
She is encouraged by the prospects for President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which looks to see a lot of investment going into infrastructure, transportation, bridges and also water infrastructure. A range of potential projects and job training opportunities are expected to come out of that funding.
Like most communities, some smaller businesses in the city had a hard time surviving the pandemic, but she said there weren’t a lot of closures. Some essential services took the hit, but most impacted were either food or restaurants that learned how to change and adapt.
Through it all, Renaissance Park remained intact with many eating establishments. Now, she said the focus is on American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, of which they received just under $30 million.
“We’ve received half of the one installment, but we made a commitment 10% to focus on our small business, residents, workforce development, and small grants with our residents that we would help them get rental assistance and mortgage assistance,” she said.
In the weeks and months ahead, almost everyone has their eyes peeled for the ARPA dollars, and what it means for their cities, nonprofits and small businesses that could tap some of that funding.
Pepi Jackson, president of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, is concerned that small businesses don’t miss out this time around as they did on the first round of CARES Act funding. It seemed to bypass the Black community.
“We saw what happened with some of the money from PPP, and that some of the monies don’t ever reach the small businesses, so that is still a sore subject to talk about,” he said.
He has been hearing a lot about ARPA’s transit funding opportunities, but most importantly, he wants to learn more about how local small businesses can participate in the RFP processes. Business development in the Black and low-income community has been in dire straits and need to recover from such massive losses from the pandemic.
For 2022, he is hoping to see the development of a triage that could give Black businesses in the inland empire a place to regroup and access Build Back Better resources coming down from the recently passed legislation.
It would be a place where businesses could walk in, find out what help is available, and basically how to stop the bleeding.
“To figure out how to move forward, they need to assess their damage. When you take a person off the battlefield, the first thing they do is take them to triage. Is this life-threatening or something you can take care of in the field?” he said.
His organization is talking with small businesses, and on alert for ARPA dollars to ensure there isn’t a replay of the last funding cycle when big dollars slipped away, leaving many local Black businesses hanging.
He believes watchdog activity is needed.
“We have to be more interactive with our city and county officials to make sure that when those funds come down from the Fed to the state and the counties that our voice is heard,” he said.