Counted among the lessons learned in more than a half century of wandering this earth is that opinions are like backsides, everybody has one. Now, some folks just have to share theirs as though it was the secret to all the worlds problems. Others have learned to wait until asked.
I am somewhere in the middle. In general I won’t share my opinion until asked but be forewarned, if you ask, a response will be forthcoming. The exception to this is the occasional outburst given in response to a massive display of stupidity masquerading as intelligent, informed opinion.
I give this long winded introduction as an explanation for what is about to be written. For most of the past year I have been besieged with requests for thoughts on how to breathe life into Kingman, how to make it a destination rather than a stop, and even urgings to abandon common sense and run for public office.
In an effort to save time, I decided to address these issues as a step by step manual. As always, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and suggestions.
ONE –
With completion of the depot restoration we link it to the second anchor in the historic district, the Power House Visitor Center and Route 66 Museum. This is accomplished with continuation of the new fencing at the depot, and construction of a gently curved sidewalk linking the two sites that is bordered by a low water, desert botanical garden.
Enhancing this corridor would be the use of vintage neon signage to light the path, informative kiosks providing detail about the signs, and historic markers that provide information about key sites, such as that of the former Harvey House. Now we have continuity that promotes walking rather than driving.
In light of the current economic situation, funding is a joint effort between the Chamber of Commerce, the tourism office, the city, and area businesses. Perhaps we would also be able to obtain some funding from the railroad.
TWO –
We link the third anchor, Locomotive Park. This is accomplished by building a pedestrian bridge from the Power House Visitor Center to the park that appears to be a vintage railroad trestle.
The most expensive aspect of this transformational stage would be conversion and restoration of the caboose. Upon completion this becomes a source of revenue through leasing it as a food kiosk or souvenir concession.
THREE –
The third step is creation of three promotional packages; one for individuals or businesses making inquiries about relocation, one for those that do relocate to the area that is distributed though local truck renting agencies (Penske, Uhaul, Budget) as well as real estate offices, and one for travel journalists.
The latter is key for the development of tourism. Several years ago when I was on assignment in Chattanooga, Tennessee a similar package was presented to me.
It included a 24 hour number for the answering of questions, a discount on my motel room, a coupon book for free or drastically discounted admission to area attractions, brochures from area attractions with contact information, information about availability of public transportation, and samples of local specialties such as Moon Pies, originally developed in that city.
FOUR –
The fourth step would be development of a mural program that serves as a potential fund raiser, masks empty buildings, and that provides a service to business owners. This should also be a relatively reasonable objective that can be funded from numerous sources.
These murals would be painted on plywood. With permission from business owners, these would then be used to cover windows in empty buildings preventing vandalism and enhancing the look of the property.
At the time of the buildings restoration the murals could then be sold. Proceeds could be used to fund the restoration or the program.
Okay, this may be overly simplistic. Does that mean it can’t be done? Does that mean it wouldn’t serve as a great foundation for the transformation of the community?
Care to share your thoughts? I did ask so…

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