NEEDLES — As initial construction phases of commercial cannabis growing and processing move through completion to operation the city is beginning to feel the economic impacts.

“There are 252 employees working in cannabis that weren’t there a year ago,” City Manager Rick Daniels told the Needles Downtown Business Alliance during their January meeting. “About 50 percent are Needles residents; about 29 percent are Mohave County residents; the rest are people who had another address before they went to work.”

Medical Investor Holdings LLC, one of the larger operations, will team with the Needles Chamber of Commerce to offer a job fair, Daniels continued; while city and growers continue to try to work with Palo Verde College.

Both new construction and remodeling in some of Needles’ historic neighborhoods are seeing effects: Daniels said there about 22 homes in the building permit stage; there are double stack modular homes being put together at Rainbo Beach; Kevin Ostby is converting the historic office building across the street from St. Ann Catholic Church to apartments and there are two residential units on San Clemente getting permits. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in people buying five or six homes in town and doing renovations,” Daniels continued.

About a year ago city calculations indicated spatial commitments to commercial cannabis totaled close to 600,000 square feet.

The city manager usually gives a short update on progress to the NDBA during its 11:30 a.m. meetings in the Wagon Wheel Restaurant along Needles Highway. The next is scheduled for Feb. 7. Other items Daniels covered during the Jan. 10 meeting included:

• The city is reducing fees at its River’s Edge Golf Course. “We’ve learned over the last few years to be the low price leader,” Daniels said. Experience indicates that when rates come down overall rounds played and total revenue rise. “Golf courses nationwide are losing,” Daniels reflected, saying that country clubs are shutting down due to insufficient members; courses are being plowed under to make way for homes. Millennials, he continued, tend not to play as much golf as other generations. Interim Pro Tom Russell is putting together a junior golf program to introduce more of Needles’ youngsters to the game.

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