Mammoth on right track with Gateway Project
Winter 2012 has dealt Mammoth a triple hit: lingering bad economy, MLLA airport lawsuit, and a season with minimal snowfall resulting in a substantial drop in visitors and the recent layoff of 75 full-time employees at the Mountain.
Hard times indeed, but in my 20 years here, I’ve seen Mammoth go through hard times and come out the other side the better for it. No snow, too much snow, blizzards at the holidays, earthquakes, rising resurgent dome, high gas prices, bad economy. Yet Mammoth gets through it and moves forward.
Now, more than ever, we need to announce to visitors and potential investors: “Mammoth is open for business. We’re moving ahead and investing in our future.”
By next winter, the impressive Mammoth Gateway Community Project will make that announcement. The timing couldn’t be more crucial.
Perception is everything. Successful vacation destinations give visitors a true sense of arrival and powerful sense of place. The approach to Park City doesn’t pass the test. The first thing you see there is Wal-Mart. Mammoth may have one of the country’s best-looking McDonald’s and a well-designed Shell station, but that’s not an entrance statement announcing, “Welcome! This is an extraordinary place.”
Town Council made a strategic and visionary decision by dedicating $250,000 from the Public Art Fund to the Gateway Project on February 15. The Public Art Fund is not part of the General Fund. It is money collected in the form of fees paid by commercial developers that can only be used for public art. Council’s decision made the difference for the success of the Project.
Last week local businessman Tony Colasardo told me, “Right now the Gateway is more important than anything else as far as public art goes. Without doing a whole lot, it changes our community and its economic strength.”
Hundreds of hours of work have been donated by Gateway designer Larry Walker and architect Bruce Woodward as well as others because they know how important the Project is for Mammoth’s future. Fundraising has been ongoing since September 2011 to cover the cost of materials and specialized labor.
Our community has a unique opportunity. Right now — when we need it most — we can leverage the support of six government agencies along with substantial construction help from Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and Snowcreek Resort /The Chadmar Group with financial and in-kind contributions from locals and second homeowners to make the volunteer/private/public Mammoth Gateway partnership a reality.
We’re investing in the future because Mammoth Lakes has a future. Locals have shown over and over they’re tough, smart and resourceful. May we never again say, “Last one out of town, turn out the lights.”
Mammoth Gateway Project
When will we have a safe airport?
In his Letter to the Editor (The Sheet, March 3, 2012) Airport Commissioner Lee Hughes objects to my recent Op-Ed piece on the airport, but doesn’t refute it. And he suggests I must have an agenda, but can’t seem to figure out what that agenda is.
Absolutely I have an agenda: I am lobbying for a safe airport for commercial air service in the Eastern Sierra; for an airport that is designed for large aircraft; for an airport that is not compromised by hangars located too close to the runway.
That airport can be Mammoth-Yosemite Airport, but not without serious investment by the Town and FAA. It is time for the Town, as airport sponsor, to propose an expansion plan to accommodate large regional jets. Anything less is a disservice to the community.
In the year 2025 …
The Mammoth Elementary School Class of 2025 had their first introduction to their new school at Kindergarten Round Up Thursday, March 1. More than 160 parents and their children joined the school staff and volunteers to learn about the kindergarten routine, meet their teachers, sign up for services, and get free dental check-ups.
Many thanks to the volunteers who help make our Kinder Round Up so successful! They include dentists Dr. Steve Fujimoto, Sierra Park Dental Clinic and Dr. Craig Schrager from Mammoth Dental and his son Malachi; Kiara Raazi, Mammoth Hospital; Debbie Painter, Wild Iris; Maria King, MD, Day and Night Pediatrics; and Taylor Kumlue, Raising a Reader Program Mammoth Library.
If you missed the Round Up and would like to pick up a registration packet and schedule a pre-kindergarten assessment for your child, contact the school at 760.934.7545. For information on how you can help your child prepare for school next fall, call First 5 Mono at 760.924.7626.
Rosanne Lampariello, Principal
Kathy Peterson, Molly DesBaillets
First 5 Mono County