Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer
Posted: 02/27/2010 08:25:27 PM PST

Victorville moved forward Friday in what is expected to be the first of many steps toward healing its economy.

The first foreign investor is willing to put up $550,000 toward a $25 million wastewater treatment plant and site preparation for a $120 million bottling plant to the city.

In exchange, the investor and his family get to come to the United States.

Victorville, with help from the Inland Group of Newport Beach, is using the federal EB-5 program to jump-start its troubled economy, said Inland Group spokesman Miguel Gonzalez.

“Zhi Quan and his family are among the first beneficiaries of a plan to line up 50 investors from Asia, each willing to pay $550,000 in exchange for 5 percent interest over five years and visas for the investors and their families to come to the United States, work and eventually be eligible to apply for citizenship,” Gonzalez said.

The EB-5 plan is under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The EB-5 program was established to find interested and willing people with sufficient capital to invest in job-producing projects in the United States. It is limited to the issuance of 3,000 visas. It is commonly called “the green card program.”

Of the money paid into the program, $50,000 will be set aside for legal, marketing, escrow and marketing fees. The remaining $500,000 will be used for the project at Southern California Logistics Airport.

Inland Group and its subsidiary, Inland Energy, under the direction of its president, Buck Johns, was instrumental in the development of the Victorville 1 power plant at the airport.

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