The Tenney vision (not to be confused with tunnel vision). RENDERING COURTESY LARRY WALKER
By Elizabeth Tenney
The Mammoth Gateway Community Project would provide a truly worthy entrance to this town and its spectacular surroundings, the most accessible high country in the Sierra.
Early Gateway Project supporter Steve Horman recently sent me some national park entrance photos from the Web. Forgive my bias, but the proposed Mammoth Gateway design has them all beat!
Imagine visitors turning off 395, headed for Mammoth. Shoulders relax. Frame of mind shifts in the clear alpine air. At last, they’re here. They’ve arrived at the gateway to Mammoth and likely will celebrate with a photo op in front of the handsome monument with Mammoth Mountain in the background. Images will be sent via social media with “wish you were here” messages to friends and family around the world. Thousands of Mammoth marketing moments and all free! What an economic shot in the arm for the entire East Side.
Mammoth specializes in good volunteers, and they all qualify for advanced degrees in juggling now that I’ve seen what it takes to keep numerous balls in the air.
Working out the logistical and legal details of the Gateway Project with seven different government entities, one non-profit, and three private stakeholders has been more involved and complicated than I ever dreamed possible when I began the project last December. Construction industry friends tell me, “Welcome to the world of project development!”
Further complication, but a welcome one. In March, a better idea doubled the project’s size. When I asked for significant Mammoth Mountain support, CEO Rusty Gregory told me, “This is great, Elizabeth, but it’s not grand enough.” He suggested a monument like this on both sides.
North of 203 is U.S. Forest Service land, another agency. Together with the Town, USFS is currently reassessing signage on Highway 203 with the goal of reducing visual clutter. Issuance of new sign permits on Forest Service land is suspended until a comprehensive sign strategy is developed.
Also, on the site where the north monument would be built is an existing entrance monument, built by Mammoth Lakes Lions Club ten years ago. It includes service organization and church logos. The Lions Club Board of Directors agreed last week to having their monument rebuilt either in place–bigger and better–or elsewhere, pending agreement on the appropriate location. Most critical to the Lions Club is that the logos remain on 203 and visible to our visitors.
Design work (Larry Walker), construction drawings (Bruce Woodward), engineering (Ashley & Vance Engineering, Inc.) and grading permit soil analysis (Sierra Geotechnical Services) have been donated for the south monument. It’s ready for permit application. The north monument’s conceptual design is nearing completion.
Snowcreek Resort’s Chuck Lande donated the estimating services of his two long-time project managers, Dan McGregor and Steve Fitts. They determined a “retail” construction cost $250,000 for the south monument. However, only about 20% of that amount will have to be raised for materials and some labor, because of the enthusiastic offers of help from locals and significant in-kind support.
After all materials are obtained and on site, it will take ten weeks to build the south monument. Before breaking ground, adequate funds have to be raised and contracts signed. My original goal, completing the south monument before next winter, was overly optimistic. However, barring any unanticipated calamities, building the entire Gateway Project –both sides—in summer 2012 will result in an even better outcome.
While the Gateway’s value is “priceless”, its completion will depend solely on in-kind support and private donations. Stay tuned.
Elizabeth Tenney is volunteer organizer of the Mammoth Gateway Project