I’ll admit it. I’m weak and Elizabeth Tenney has been wearing me down on the Mammoth Gateway project.
The Gateway project involves placing two formidable welcome monuments at the entrance to town.
The project will cost upwards of $500,000.
Detractors wonder about the cost and the timing. Don’t we have more important fish to fry? Wouldn’t the money be better spent on more pressing and immediate needs? Some of the coolest towns around have the most innocuous signs of all. Less is more. Why?
Proponents such as Developer Chuck Lande and MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory believe that the monument would send a message that Mammoth hasn’t given up on itself, that Mammoth continues to reinvest in its future. That Mammoth needs a proper front door, something more auspicious than the Golden Arches.
The proponents are putting money behind the project. In fact, Tenney estimates she only needs to raise about $100,000 from public donations to fund it.
The money, FYI, is available for the asking. The Public Arts fund currently holds about $235,000 and the sign the Public Arts Commission hoped to install as a replacement for the current sign on Highway 203 has been rejected by the Forest Service.
So there are no longer competing sign projects.
So hopefully Council will demonstrate some leadership and tell the Public Arts Commission to get behind the remaining project.
I figure if the money in the Arts fund came from developers in the first place and a current, longstanding Planning Commissioner who sits on the Town’s Design Review committee is championing the Gateway project, well …
Elizabeth wore me down. I drank the Kool-Aid. I wrote her a lifetime achievement check. Who’s with me?
FYI, Elizabeth’s currently running a contest so the public can come up with “arrival” and “departure” messages for the two monuments.
As she acknowledges, “Reaction has been ho-hum to the proposed message, ‘Welcome to the Top of California.’”
“And what about a memorable departure message?” she asks. The departure message will appear on the west face of the south monument of the Gateway and will be visible soon after passing McDonald’s.
Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. In late November the Project’s stakeholders will review all entries submitted 1) for appropriateness of message, 2) that it will fit on the sign and 3) that it’s not already trademarked.
The stakeholders group will narrow down the group of entries and in early December, the community will vote on those top choices online at www.surveymonkey.com which allows only one entry per ISP address. Winners receive a three-line personal paver on the south monument pathway, acknowledging their contribution to the MAMMOTH GATEWAY COMMUNITY PROJECT.