On Monday, July 22 the Mammoth Lakes Recreation Steering Committee kicked off its series of facilitated workshops regarding the potential formation of a Mammoth Lakes Recreation (MLR) entity.
According to the Town of Mammoth, the goals of the MLR process are:
1. To determine if there is a need for a MLR entity at this time or how the current municipal recreation structure can be enhanced to fulfill the recreation needs of the community.
2. To provide an opportunity for the MLR Steering Committee to assess the available information on the current marketplace and community needs and determine if a new entity is needed.
3. To assist participants in understanding a range of perspectives on this issue and to determine a common one.
4. To develop a recommendation to the Town Council — after several defined steps — to move ahead with the development of MLR or not.
The Strategic Marketing Group (SMG) has been retained by the Town to convene, document, and facilitate the MLR process, provide technical expertise and structural framework to the facilitation process, and finally, produce a report identifying recommendations for Town Council regarding the decision to either move forward with the formation of a MLR entity or not form an entity at this time. Council is expected to receive and comment on this report in September.
At the workshop, SMG’s Carl Ribaudo kicked things off by stating that the passion for recreation in Mammoth Lakes is rare. He also pointed out that the committed funding for recreation, in the form of measures R and U, is something no one else has.
“This is a unique moment in time [for Mammoth Lakes recreation],” Ribaudo said. “Will you look back and say ‘We nailed it,’ or ‘We missed it?’”
Michael Ward, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for HighBar Global Consulting then took over the workshop.
He explained that by starting with the question of “what,” Mammoth has been going about the recreation process all-wrong. Instead, he said Mammoth should be asking “why” when it comes to recreation.
“If we had what you do [measures R and U] in Tahoe, we’d be six steps ahead of where you are,” Ward said.
He then led participants in an assemblage of pink, blue and green sticky notes.
Ward had members of the Steering Committee identify the current strengths and gaps in Mammoth Lakes Recreation.
Not surprisingly, strengths included the natural surroundings, dedicated capital resources, capable partners, and a dedicated community.
“It sounds like you should be rolling in financial stability,” Ward said. “So what are the gaps?”
Participants pointed to a lack of direction and path to success, lack of maintenance for what already exists, lack of confidence, funding pressure at the Town level, and competing interests as some of the gaps keeping Mammoth recreation from being as successful as it could be.
Participants also discussed the need for Mammoth to figure out its issues so that it could steer the recreation ship for the rest of Mono County. As Ribaudo pointed out, “Eighty percent of the gross regional product is generated in town, so Mammoth has to get it right.”
“I don’t want to alienate others [in the county] by saying we’re the hub,” pointed out Recreation Commissioner Bill Sauser. “We all need to get on the same bus.”
June Lake business owner, Ralph Lockhart, however, said he was not offended by the Mammoth being designated the hub of the county, “because it already is.”
“If Mammoth is successful, it will benefit June Lake,” Lockhart said.
Two more workshops will be held on Aug. 5 and 19. Workshops are held from 4-7 p.m. in Suite Z, Minaret Village Mall.