Town finishes $101,000 facelift for tourist center

The California Welcome Center in downtown Yucca Valley is operated by Kathie Ammar, right, executive director of the Desert Regional Tourism Agency, with help from Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Wanda Stadum, left.

YUCCA VALLEY— The California Welcome Center has a fresh look for 2020 and city officials are celebrating the makeover.

The Town Council agreed last year to pay $76,280 to Zoran Construction Group to repair and remodel the exterior of the welcome center.

In addition, the town signed a $24,998 contract with NPG Asphalt to repair the parking lot.

The welcome center, at 56711 Twentynine Palms Highway, is operated by Kathie Ammar, executive director of the nonprofit Desert Regional Tourism Agency.

Yucca Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO/President Wanda Stadum helps run the center.

The two were happy to present the renovations. “It’s a big improvement,” Ammar said. “It looks fantastic.”

Yucca Valley Town Council members discussed the renovations at their Jan. 21 meeting.

“Thank you to all the staff for working on this project,” Councilman Rick Denison said. “It was in desperate need of repair.”

Councilman Merl Abel loved the colors. “They are very trendy,” he said.

Abel hoped the improvements to the welcome center and the old PFF building as it becomes the new location of the San Bernardino County library will “bring up the image of Yucca Valley” and encourage other businesses to follow suit.

“Hopefully we’ll see continued improvements on the highway,” Abel said.

The town still plans to install an outdoor shaded pergola and electric vehicle charging stations.

The California Welcome Center also houses the nonprofit Basin Wide Foundation.

The town has paid the Desert Regional Tourism Agency to staff and run the welcome center and market Yucca Valley to tourists since 2005. In the 2018-19 fiscal year, the town paid the DRTA $57,500.

Town Manager Curtis Yakimow noted that represented less than 2 percent of the sales tax money the town receives.

The welcome center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

(2) comments


The parking lot there is always empty. Why does it need repairs? Or renovation for that matter? It's the town's "white elephant". An empty ode to bureaucratic folly.


It needs repairs due to hosting "Yucca Valley Follies", as danced by a whole herd of white elephants.

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