In the past few days I have been providing a bit of information about the recent World Monuments Fund sponsored Route 66 symposium in California. In the coming weeks I plan on sharing information from the event in a format that will allow for its implication in a practical manner.
One aspect of the event I found most invigorating was the display of general unity during the strategic planning round table session on the final day. Unity in the Route 66 community is a very rare commodity as evidenced by the splintered efforts to promote the road, preserve its unique attributes, and harness the resurgent interest in the highway as an engine for community development.
An example of the unity displayed during this segment of the conference was the consensus that an umbrella organization such as the original U.S. Highway 66 Association was needed if Route 66 was to survive a second century, or if its fast approaching centennial would be a celebration or a dirge. This show of unity also presented a bit of an issue.
There are currently two organizations operating at the national level that strive to represent the Route 66 community – the National Historic Route 66 Federation and the Route 66 Alliance. The former has made, and continues to make, tremendous contributions by keeping members informed about important legislation, needs for preservation involvement, and the publication of books such as the EZ 66 Guide by Jerry McClanahan.
The latter has the persona of Michael Wallis, a foundational element in the Route 66 renaissance. The Alliance has been flying under the radar of most Route 66 enthusiasts but behind the scenes it has been building a powerful coalition for change and preservation that has the potential for dramatic and sweeping Route 66 development, and spearheading incredible projects such as the development of Cyrus Avery Plaza in Tulsa. I will let Mr. Wallis explain all of this in his own words in just a moment.
As noted, a primary point of division at the planning session was the need for an umbrella organization. Most saw no reason to reinvent the wheel by creating a new entity. A few, however, felt that a clean slate was required to create an effective organization.
It is my sincere hope that this sticking point will be resolved quickly and that the momentum from the symposium will not be lost. This was an historic event, a rare opportunity that can not be squandered if the old double six is to survive and thrive.
And now, Michael Wallis –
Nov 24 at 3:59 PM
I am back in Tulsa. Thanks to all of you who sent your sympathies and good wishes concerning the sudden and tragic loss of a very dear friend. Much appreciated.
I am just now seeing a variety of reports sent to me about the conference at Cars Land. I see reviews are quite mixed.
Allow me to remind each of you that an organization exists that can serve as a national-international umbrella for the entire historic highway and also serve the bonafide sate associations. Notice that I said serve and not dictate.
I am, of course, referring to the Route 66 Alliance. The Alliance is 501c.3 non-profit that uses funds received for the betterment of our beloved highway. It was co-founded by myself and Rick Freeland, and Dan Rice has been selected as our designated Executive Director.
The Alliance is now poised to truly move forward on all fronts. I am puzzled why this was not made clear at the meetings in California last week. Perhaps Rick and Dan were not provided with the right forum or given an opportunity to fully explain the Alliance and our position and plans. Perhaps some attendees decided to ignore the words of Rick and Dan. Whatever happened and if there is any doubt at all about the viability of the Alliance, please know my friends that the Alliance is definitely for real.
The Route 66 Alliance is precisely what you all were trying to come up with during your sessions. The Alliance is all about the Mother Road. All we need is your support.
Below is an FYI, a recent story from Route 66 News, in case you missed it. This piece is about but one project we are now focusing on as we build a strong board that includes John Lassiter. The grandson and great-grandson of Cyrus S. Avery, have also committed to our cause. We also have major support from the most viable and genuine influences on Route 66.
Standby friends, here we come!