As expected, Mammoth Lakes Town Council rejected both bids for the Multi-Use Facility at its meeting Wednesday, throwing the future of the project into uncertainty.
While Town Staff promised to try and figure out why the bids came in significantly higher than expected, members of the public as well as Council expressed a mixture of disappointment as well as defiance.
“I still think we can figure it out,” said hockey enthusiast Jeff Posey, who added, “Nothing will ever get done around here if we kick this to the curb.”
Recreation Commissioners Betsy Truax and Sean Turner reminded those present that just because the project won’t get built right away, that doesn’t mean the needs this project was meant to address have disappeared.
“Things like this happen [in real estate development],” said Councilman Shields Richardson. “We’re not quitters. We’ll find a way.”
Staff was expected to quiz bidders about their bids on Thursday, although Public Works Director Grady Dutton did acknowledge that bidders are under no obligation to offer any explanations.
Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board members John Morris and Brent Truax made compelling arguments in support of a TBID (Tourism Business Improvement District) renewal on Wednesday.
Morris, who also serves as Chairman of Mammoth’s Lodging Association, said TBID was originally conceived to help “weather-proof” the town, as well as grow business during the shoulder season months of April, May, October and November.
He said in the five years prior to the enactment of the TBID, the four aforementioned months accounted for just 10% of lodging revenue.