Editorial: Lompoc gets its groove back amid tourism boom
We’ll confess that in our 15 years, the Business Times has badly under-reported business and tourism news coming out of the Lompoc Valley.
As a second city to larger Santa Maria, Lompoc has stuggled a bit over the years to find its identity. And more recently, it was badly hurt by the real estate crash and the downturn that dealt a severe blow to North Santa Barbara County.
But Lompoc has been on a bit of a comeback — riding a rising tide of jobs and development that’s slowly reduced unemployment and boosted property values.
The Lompoc Valley always counted on Vandenberg Air Force Base for steady employment. But arrival of a launch facility for Elon Musk’s Space X reusable vehicle has created a sexy new entrant into the launch business and sparked a mini-boom in space tourism.
The vintners of the city’s wine ghetto have taken home plenty of awards and sparked a resurgence of the local economy.
The arrival of Santa Maria transplant DenMat gave the city’s manufacturing sector a big boost. Jim Raggio has navigated the Lompoc Health District and its hospital through the shoals of the Affordable Care Act and came away a winner.
If you think the rest of the region has not looked with envy on what Lompoc has done on its own, just look at Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone or the burgeoning wine district of Ventura. No one will admit it on the record, but Lompoc’s wine ghetto was far ahead of its time.
Lompoc itself is recognizing that it has a new and powerful story to tell. The city is launching a new destination marketing program on Feb. 25 at the Dick DeWees Community Center and we encourage those in the city and those who are stakeholders in Lompoc’s future to show up and share.
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