By Joe Parrino
Town Council is considering how to manage the spending of Measure R and Measure U funds, appointing committee members to help with the issue and considering some very high-end, and worthwhile, projects. All in the name of addressing the needs of ALL recreation opportunities in Mammoth for residents and visitors, and to create a sustainable economy year round. The projects under consideration all require enormous capital outlay, and one recreational opportunity missing from the discussions is to open up the existing Motocross track for public recreational riding.
Here we have a world-famous amenity used by guests and locals for over 40 years, bringing in millions of dollars every time there is a race event; fills our lodging establishments, restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, bars, gas stations, movie theater, and businesses; visitors renting bikes, boats, fishing tackle, paddle boards, kayaks, and attending local town events. A breed that travels in large groups, family members, and all their friends showing support for a fun sport with ear-to-ear smiles. If you guessed our Mammoth Motocross Track - correct!
A two-week race in June only? Locked gate the rest of the year? The motocross race event brings over three million dollars into Town. This facility already exists. It is a turnkey operation. The Town held the permit to operate the track and neglected its importance to our local economy and let it go (to the Mountain). Why did they drop the ball? We also need to market it for high altitude research and development testing. All of the motorcycle manufacturers and factories would bring next yearâ€™s prototype bikes with all the team riders to train. A team brings a minimum of 15 people in their group. A TOT REVENUE SOURCE to support our community? Notice the empty businesses on Old Mammoth Road and elsewhere in Town?
Iâ€™m full throttle with the intentions to have our track open to the public in 2011. I posted my mission on Facebook a few weeks ago and am now receiving numerous e-mails each day in support of opening the track for public use. MX riders replying from all states and cities â€“ Nevada, Arizona, California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, and other states and cities in the nation. The permit for the track is issued each year, and the Town should make every effort to obtain the permit in 2011, allowing a Special Event permit to the Mountain for the June races (this is how it was before the Town gave it up). In the past the State of California Parks & Recreation funded the track with OHV funds. They will help fund the track with green sticker grant money raised by gas taxes, and all OHV registrations.
Anyone with an interest in local motocross riding, and any business or lodge owner concerned about their profit margin, especially during the shoulder seasons, please show up to the Recreation Commission meeting Tues. Dec.7 at 4 p.m. in Suite Z above the movie theater in the Minaret Village Mall. Please donâ€™t assume someone will show up to represent you. For more information, please visit mammothmotocross.org and consider getting involved. Now is the time.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent policies and opinions of the staff or owners of the Mammoth Times. Reader response is encouraged. â€“MT