Twenty-four thousand dollars is nothing to sneeze at, especially when the money is earmarked to help East Valley businesses.

The Chamber has been awarded $24K from a County Tourism Grant to benefit the unincorporated businesses in our area, Big Bear City, Sugarloaf, Fawnskin and the lake areas.

The grant monies will be used for permanent signs, a tourism guide, the website and a tourism display booth.

The first project is the design and installation for two permanent “Welcome” signs. One sign will be placed at a location near Division and Big Bear Boulevard. The second sign will greet SR 38 motorists at the northwest corner of Rt. 38 and the Boulevard. The Chamber is working now to talk with property owners in those locations about the feasibility of locating these signs there.

The second project is the content development, photography, design and printing for an East Valley Tourism Guide. The 8 1/2 x 11 full color glossy brochure will highlight member businesses and area attractions. The centerfold will feature a map with member businesses and attractions pinpointed. Each Chamber member in the unincorporated area will be given a free advertisement in the brochure.

The new website features a section about the East Valley and will include a digital copy of the East Valley Tourism Guide when available.

Finally, funding will go towards the purchase of a mobile display for use by the Chamber to attract new businesses to Big Bear and new visitors and tourists to the East Valley.

The County Tourism Grant Funding projects must be completed no later than December 31, 2020 and the Chamber is required to comply with reporting guidelines throughout the year.

Group members have said that public bathrooms, sidewalks, a tourist kiosk and some Community Clean Up Days are priorities as well. Those projects will be discussed at future meetings.

The East Valley Business group meets monthly, but are on hiatus until the pandemic ceases. Chamber member and non-member businesses are invited to attend to learn more about these projects and future improvements and potential grants.