DAWN OF A NEW ERA, A NEW HIGH IN LOW, AND ASSORTED NOTES FROM THE ROAD AND MY CORNER OF THE WORLD

There is no way I can provide a condensed version of all that has take place on Route 66 in the last few days so grab a cold one and get ready for a bit of reading. Suffice to say, in more ways than one, this is truly the dawn of a new era on Route 66.
As always, your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions would be most appreciated. With that said, let me provide a bit of an overview as well as some clarification. 
The steering committee facilitated by the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and World Monuments Fund was conceived as an entity that would develop a support structure for existent organizations, as well as the international Route 66 community. In turn that support structure would then serve as the foundation for development of a organization composed of elected representatives. 
The recent merger announcement from the U.S. Highway 66 Association and subsequent press releases created a great deal of confusion. In addition, it also delayed the release of information from the steering committee as the January conference call was consumed with the need to work out the necessitated adjustments to a few key points.   
In part the confusion stemmed from the fact that Dan Rice, a board member with the Route 66 Alliance, and David Knudson of the National Historic Route 66 Federation were members of the steering committee. The following press release should clarify some of this. 
Personal feelings aside, I am of the opinion that the steering committee represents a very ambitious initiative that should be beneficial to the entire Route 66 community, and rectify the real as well as perceived shortcomings of existent organizations. This is not to say it is perfect in design or execution, and the key to its success will be in support, participation, and input from the Route 66 community.  
Okay, now, the official press release. This will be followed by the missions and goals statement, and an unrelated note pertaining to the recently opened Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingman. A personal item will close out today’s post.

~ For Immediate Release ~
Monday, February 9, 2015
Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative
In November 2013, organizational leaders and representative stakeholders of Route 66 met at “The Road Ahead” strategic roundtable in Anaheim, California. Sponsored by the World Monument Fund/American Express, their purpose was to discuss a vision and strategies for developing a national framework for collaboration along the Road.
In November 2014, a Steering Committee met for two days in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to finalize recommendations developed over a period of months. There, the group agreed on a proposed new organizational structure, to be called “Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative” that includes plans for a representative elected board, and working groups/committees that will promote tourism, preservation, Route 66 Associations (advocacy), economic development, and education. The goal is a fresh, inclusive approach for Route 66 that represents all stakeholders — everybody with dedication and passion for the Road.
The Steering Committee has representatives of the tourism industry, small business, economic development, government, departments of transportation, education, economic development, Route 66 Associations (including the Tulsa-based Route 66 Alliance and National Historic Route 66 Federation). The Steering Committee has chosen Bill Thomas, of Atlanta, Illinois as its Chairman and spokesperson to speak on behalf of the committee and communicate with stakeholders moving forward.
“Our Steering Committee is excited to represent the entirety of Route 66 as we work together to achieve the mission we have set for ourselves,” noted Thomas. “We are committed to nothing less than reviving and renewing Route 66, and I feel privileged to be part of this effort.”
Immediate priorities identified for the upcoming year include a period of public consultation and review of the proposed new organization and the development of working committees; applying for National Treasure status for Route 66 through the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and exploring a permanent federal designation for Route 66 as a National Historic Trail. These efforts would continue to be coordinated by the Steering Committee until the eventual formal launch of the new organization.
The agreed Mission, Strategic Outcomes and Key Goals of the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative, which came out of a long consultation period and were further refined based on public feedback, are attached to this release.  These have been endorsed by all of the Steering Committee’s members, who are fully united behind working with all state and private associations, stakeholders, organizations, businesses and government to help achieve these goals. The National Park Service is an important partner in the Road Ahead Initiative.
“We’re excited to be a part of the Road Ahead,” says Aaron Mahr, National Park Service Superintendent of the National Trails Office in New Mexico, which oversees the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. “We share a common goal to create a framework for collaboration that captures the passion and dedication of so many diverse people, organizations, and other entities across the entire Road and around the world.  Transparency and inclusion of diverse interests in the process are the key elements to the success of the Road Ahead, and we’re excited to see that happening.”
A month after the Albuquerque meeting, the National Route 66 Federation and the Route 66 Alliance announced they are re-forming the U.S. Highway 66 Association, with the encouragement of Cyrus Stevens Avery II, grandson of the architect of Route 66. The announcement, coming on the heels of the Steering Committee meeting to finalize its recommendations, may have confused some. The Alliance and Federation have informed the Steering Committee that the Association will be the banner name over their two organizations as they consolidate. The Alliance will concentrate on its Route 66 experience in Tulsa, and the Federation plans to continue its publications. While they fully support the efforts of the Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative, the new Association has its own goals and specific interests. Like each of the other current members, both the Alliance and the Federation will continue to be represented on the Steering Committee.
The Steering Committee will provide additional updates on strategies for stakeholder engagement and moving forward in the upcoming weeks. In the short term, the Committee will concentrate on launching key working groups, working on behalf of the stakeholders, to help coordinate and leverage existing efforts along Route 66. At the same time, the committee is committed to the longer term development of a truly democratic, effective national organization that fully represents stakeholder’s interests and needs for the future.
The members of the Steering Committee, who include:
David Bricker, Deputy District Director, California Department of Transportation, San Bernardino, CA
John Conoboy, National Park Service (retired), Albuquerque, NM
David Dunaway, Professor, University of New MexicoFacilitator, Route 66 Archives and Research Collaboration Albuquerque, NM
Sharlene Fouser, Executive Director, Arizona Route 66 All American Road/Rte 66 Assoc.
Melvena Heisch, Deputy SHPO, Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office, Oklahoma City, OK
Jim Hinckley Author, Jim Hinckley’s America, Kingman, AZ
Bill Kelly, Executive Director, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, Springfield, IL
David Knudson, Executive Director, National Historic Route 66 Federation, Lake Arrowhead, CA
Kevin Mueller, Owner, Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, NM
Tommy Pike, President, The Route 66 Association of Missouri, Springfield, MO
Dan Rice, Owner, 66 to Cali, Inc.Executive Director Designate, Route 66 Alliance, Santa Monica, CA
Bob Russell, Mayor, City of Pontiac Pontiac, IL
Katie Steele Danner, Director, Missouri State Tourism OfficeBoard member, Mississippi Parkway Commission Jefferson City, MO
Bill Thomas, Community organizer, Atlanta, IL
Amy Webb, Field Director, National Trust for Historic Preservation Denver, CO
Rich Williams, Director, New Mexico Main Street Program Santa Fe, NM
David Zimmerman, Historic Preservation Specialist, Arizona Department of Transportation Phoenix, AZ
wish to communicate their consensus in support of the Mission, Strategic Outcomes, and Key Goals noted on the attached. The Road Ahead is indeed promising, all the more so because of the support of the groups which constitute the Steering Committee.
For further information on the Route 66 Road Ahead initiative, contact
Mr. Bill Thomas
114 SW Arch Street [Old Route 66]
Atlanta, Illinois 61723
217-648-5077
wthomas@teleologic.net


Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative
Mission – Strategic Outcomes – Goals
Mission:
To revive and renew Route 66 as a symbol of freedom, adventure, and prosperity by engaging in cross-state collaboration, promotion and preservation in order to foster economic development along the road.
Strategic Outcomes:
·         Strong Cross-State Collaboration: We want to increase communication and participation among and between sectors (tourism, preservation, associations, transportation, economic/community development) to leverage their work for the benefit of the entire road.
·         Effective Promotion: We want to promote the road and increase the number of visitors, both domestic and international, coming to Rt. 66, with the specific aim of increasing their length of stay and the amount of money they spend along the Route.
·         Purposeful Preservation: We want to purposefully maintain and preserve as much of the authentic roadway design, original buildings, landscapes, traditions, and experiences that together make up the idiosyncratic experience that is the essence of Rt. 66.
·         Increased Prosperity: We want to act as a catalyst for community development, increasing the prosperity of the people who live along, and are connected to, Rt. 66 by helping sustain existing businesses and attractions, and by helping new ones develop.
·         Accurate Research and Education:  We want to ensure that the history and stories associated with Route 66 are both accurate and accessible to the public, researchers and educational institutions in order to enhance and encourage greater understanding of the mother road.
Strategic Goals:
Strong Cross-State Collaboration:
1.       Establish one professionally – led, representative body with an elected board, to deliver on strategic goals, convene meetings, act as a central resource and represent the road as a whole
2.       Leverage the resources of National Trust (NTHP) or World Monuments Fund (WMF) as potential incubators
3.       Build budget and 3 year plan with targets for financial sustainability, post incubation
Effective Promotion:
1.       Develop comprehensive marketing and communication strategy to promote the road, leverage social media and build a single cohesive website and clearing house for information
2.       Establish collaborative Cross-State Tourism/Marketing Group to promote the whole road and obtain matching funds through Brand USA to market Route 66 overseas
3.       Educate public, tour operators, communities, entrepreneurs, government and the next generation about the history, cultural importance, economic value, attractions and business opportunities along Route 6
Purposeful Preservation:
1.       Gain National Treasure status through National Trust  (NTHP)
2.       Pursue federal legislation to designate Rt. 66 as an Historic Trail
3.       Establish Cross-State Preservation Group to share best practice and ideas especially between State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO) and Departments of Transportation (DOT) including common standards, bridges, buildings, storytelling and signage etc
Increased Prosperity:
1.       Promote economic development case for support , provide mentorship, training and resources
2.       Develop and implement a comprehensive corporate development (fundraising and sponsorship) plan
3.       Establish Cross-State Economic Development Group to share best practice and examples of successful community revitalization and build effective strategies to leverage tourism
Accurate Research and Education:
 1.   To assist educational institutions at all levels in presenting research to students, travelers, tourists, and the general public.
2.  To support the preparation of comprehensive and accurate information and its distribution in multiple forms: netcasting, broadcasting, print, social media, and curriculum.
3.   To encourage collaboration among educators and researchers, professional and amateur, to inspire and renew public understanding of Route 66.
  
     
Now, a note from Josh Noble, tourism director, pertaining to the electric vehicle museum. 

Hello,
Please find the press release below and attached. We are seeing people from all over the world signing into the guestbook at the Historic Electric Vehicle Display. If anyone expresses interest in helping transport the vehicles to the display, they can contact Roderick or me.
Thank you!
-Josh

Joshua Noble

Kingman Visitor Center Inc
928.753.6106

Write Brothers Era Electric Vehicle Donated

Addition to the Historic Electric Vehicle Exhibit in the Route 66 Museum

The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation recently announced the addition of a 1914 Custer Chair Car to their collection.  Its Inventor, Levitt Lucern Custer, was an entrepreneur and contemporary of the Wright Brothers. 
“Custer had worked with the Wrights and was an accomplished balloonist and aviator in his own right” says Larry Fisher, Foundation Curator.
The Custer Chair Car was largely for seniors, however the Great War (World War I) brought with it the opportunity to create a mobility solution for returning wounded soldiers. The three-wheeled Custer Chair Car answered this by promising “Miles of Smiles for a Penny.” The Custer Specialty Company offered the cars first with electric power, and later optional gasoline power.  Hundreds were produced, although few survived the scrap drives of World War II.
The Route 66 Historic Electric Vehicle Exhibit has had several vehicles donated since debuting at the International Route 66 Festival in August.  Among them are a very rare, sporty Tropica Roadster and a hybrid trailer built by JB Starubel (Tesla Motors co-founder and Chief Technical Officer) which was featured in the May, 2007 Popular Science magazine being towed behind Starubel’s electric-converted Porsche 944.
Donated vehicles will be added to the collection later this year after restoration and prep work has been completed.  The Foundation is seeking assistance from sponsors and volunteers to transport the vehicles to the Electric Vehicle Exhibit in Kingman, Arizona.
“It is our mission to tell the whole story of the development of Electrical Vehicles” Says Roderick Wilde, Executive Director of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation.  Every addition to the collection makes for a better story.  For more information, visit www.hevf.org.
CONTACTS:   Roderick Wilde, Executive Director
                          Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation
                          360-390-8411, roderick@hevf.org
                          Joshua Noble, President / CEO                
                          Kingman Visitor Center, Inc
                          928.753.6106, josh@gokingman.com     

Okay, to wrap this up, a personal note. It looks as though I will be in need of employment in the next couple of weeks or so. 
Travel is feasible but at this time, relocation is not. My skills in regard to the intricacies of modern office applications and communication leave a bit to be desired but I am a relatively quick learner. 
If I may be of service to your community or organization, please drop me a note.   
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