If you’d been in attendance at the Tuesday, Aug. 6 meeting of Mammoth’s Recreation Commission, you probably would have left the meeting second-guessing your career path.
“Oh why, oh why, did I not go into consulting?”
Tom Hazinski of HVS Consulting out of Chicago was at the meeting Tuesday to update the Commission on HVS’ half-assed, excuse me, half-finished “Entertainment and Cultural Facilities” report. This is what we learned.
First, HVS told us how many people live within a one-, three- and five-hour radius. This is classified research apparently unobtainable by your typical intern.
HVS then told us what the median household income was for these various groups.
We were then told how many guest units we have in town, what our occupancy rates are, what entertainment venues we have in town, along with their various capacities. Hmm … still waiting for some kernel of unique information, some insight, something which doesn’t make me wish I’d brought a pillow.
He tells me about popular recreation activities we have in the Eastern Sierra. He tells me about the festivals we hold each year. We’re on page 14 of the PowerPoint presentation. I want to scream.
You know, we paid him to fly out from Chicago for this. A Rec Commissioner tells me later that this consulting contract is for $50,000.
Page 15: He tells us our comp resports are Aspen, Jackson, Telluride, Sun Valley and Whistler. He breaks down what facilities they have, capacity, seating, et. al. He tells us we have weak airport access.
Then people start asking questions.
Have you spoken to the local Forest Service about some of the site venues? No. Sandy Hogan tells him any site which requires Forest Service cooperation is almost fatally flawed. Hmm. Good to know.
He says he’s spoken to “three or four” friends, but none had experience with wind. As Hazinski said to me over the phone Thursday, he visited the Mammoth Lakes Foundation site on Tuesday evening. This was the site HVS has preliminarily ranked #1. “The wind was kicking up,” he said with a nervous laugh. “Clearly a tent is not the solution [to the wind issue at the site].”
He added that wind and site analysis is not part of his scope of services. You’d want to hire a design/engineering firm for that, he said.
Canyon Lodge? HVS had that site ranked #3. I asked him if he’d heard any grumbling about pushing a site controlled by a large corporation which already controls more than its fair share in town. “Yes, I’ve heard that,” he acknowledged.
The Village at Mammoth was ranked #2. Commissioner Teri Stehlik noted that the biggest drawback to the Village site was that no one has found a way to control it [the venue] with a paid ticket.
Hmm. Good to know.
While this was by no means a final report, it would certainly help if you had a consultant who spent at least a modicum of time on the ground learning a little bit about the actual community beyond whatever numbers can be obtained via a computer screen.
As indicated by the front page banner advertisement, Old New York Deli is celebrating its tenth anniversary. I spoke to Deli owner and Town Councilman Michael Raimondo about the milestone a few weeks ago.
He said his intial reason for jumping into Mammoth was that, “We thought there was nothing like our concept in town.”
While he said there is a need to renew momentum and achieve critical mass in the Village, he is proud of the fact he’s got a successful business in a mall that’s just 20% built out.
This June was his best ever in 10 years.
The parking situation is the same as it was ten years ago.
Raimondo said the few original tenants remaining in the Village refer to themselves as “The Village Idiots.”
He credited the Deli’s survival to its ability to build strong local support.
Sheet: What’s the biggest difference between the public and private sectors? Can you sum it up in a few words?
Raimondo: In the private sector … stay the course, execute
Sheet: Would you also sum up the public sector in four words … or in four-letter words?
Raimondo: I’d rather not say.
Shakespeare in the Woods kicks off this weekend at Sam’s Wood Site. This year, Craig Sterling directs the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a comedy which rips through the Bard’s 37 plays in 100 minutes using five actors: Madeleine Roy, Sabrina Clevenger, Pricilla Toledo, Kevin Green and Sterling. The play’s at 7 p.m. nightly Friday through Sunday. Dress warmly. There is a bar and a suggested donation. Quoting a Today Show review, Sterling said, “If you love Shakespeare, you’ll love this play. If you hate Shaespeare , you’ll LOVE this play.”