Main Street Mammoth – beautiful plans, uncertain money

mltcmainstOver the years, detailed plans for a re-make of Mammoth’s Main Street have evolved with the hope of creating a different image upon entering the town. Officials gave it another go recently and hired Winter and Company Urban Design and Planning Studio. Nore’ Winter went through the current plans for Main Street which sound attractive but have no obvious method of funding.

Mr. Winter described an attractive project with a landscaped median down the middle of Main Street, on-street parking, a bike lane, sidewalks and landscaped strips, and outdoor venues for businesses, some of which would relocate right up front on the street. The total projected cost is just over $18 million. Mr. Winter did propose phases of development which would start with obtaining Caltrans rights of way, the landscaped median, new asphalt and traffic signals at a projected cost of $2.3 million. The pedestrian- bike zone and other development would come in around $5.2 million. Business re-development and utility relocation was listed at $2.7 million.

So, how to pay for all this? Mr. Winter suggested a bond issue, some grants, Development Impact Fees, funds from existing tax measures and the new Tourism Business Improvement District money. He added the possibility of an Infrastructure Finance District and Parking District. Later, Councilman Matthew Lehman said that bond issues and TBID funds are not really available for a Main Street make-over. Grants are very limited too.

No one could dispute Mr. Winter’s assertion that the current Main Street is basically a thoroughfare that does not invite walking. He said parking is in front of buildings and you don’t see businesses from Main Street. He said the goals of a make-over would be to “create a greater sense of identity.” Winter said when people arrive in Mammoth “There is not a lot of there, there.”

Winter said there are businesses who say they will never relocate their stores closer to Main Street, some say they will and others say they might. The recession and available financing is a big factor. Winter said that re-development opportunities are not that good due to just coming out of a recession, but he did say that residential sales in Mammoth are better and so is commercial occupancy in town.

Another issue is snow. He said that early on, a snow management district must be formed to haul the snow out of Main Street. The draft plan paints a picture of a far more attractive Main Street with more landscaping, more ways to park and walk around or bike around. Mr. Winter said zoning code changes could help encourage developers, and retail can be mixed with commercial.

For the next 30 days, the public is invited to comment on the Draft Main Street Plan, which is available on the Town website. Comment forms are also available on the site.

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Joe
Joe
8 years ago

Mammoth Local- You took the words right out of my mouth about the posts of a particular individual. On websites such as this one I try not to write what I wouldn’t say to a person’s face– keeps it civil in a way and a little more respectful. Unfortunately there… Read more »

Mammoth local
Mammoth local
8 years ago

Ken, please stop dominating every conversation with your incessant posts. We get you. You hate everyone else’s plan and love your own plans, which you so lovingly submitted to the Sheet (check their archives!) Get over yourself. You have nothing productive to say and you are a “downer” for this… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

Charles, I personally don’t find sitting next to a busy street drinking expensive coffee relaxing. But that’s just me. Is there a plan I would support? Yes and I wrote about what I thought would be good for the town many times and the Sheet published them. You can search… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

You may have said it dozens of times, but this is the first time I’ve heard it. I like it! I think a central park type of idea would be great addition to the community. The Shady Rest tract and Main Street are really apples and oranges though. I get… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

Charles, it’s not just Main St. The town has become fixated on Main St. The whole town needs cleaning up and refurbishing and we can do it ourselves if we stop depending on consultants and developers to do it for us. It’s our town. We can fix it up our… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken, I realize it’s not just Main St. that needs attention – but that was the subject of the article and the basis of the discussion. FYI – I am not “vested” in Main St. or any any other location in town. I am one of the few lucky ones… Read more »

MajorTom
MajorTom
8 years ago

Seems like it’s bass ackwards to spend a bunch of public money to prettify the town unless the town is already cool enough that people want to come to it – meaning great food, drinks, interesting stores and great services for recreational tourists. If the town had that going for… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

Charles, Ok, you win. Go for it. Who’s going to do it? When will they start? How much is it going to cost? Where is the town going to get the money (not from me ’cause I don’t got it)? And what exactly are they going to do? I’m not… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago

@Ken, It’s not about winning Ken, at least not to me anyway. It’s just an exchange of ideas and perspective, that’s all. And seeing that the town is broke, our exchange is really no more than pointless internet chit chat. @MajorTom, Would you want to invest your hard earned $$… Read more »

Turtleneck
Turtleneck
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

The fact that Main Street has continued to look like a pile of crap for the past 30 years should be a pretty good indicator of how good the town (by which I think you mean, individual property owners) is at “doing it ourselves.” It’s great when individuals take initiative… Read more »

Harsh Reality
Harsh Reality
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

As the economy gets flatter and flatter (and believe me, we’re heading towards Great Depression II) and money is drying up for John Q. Consumer leaving only the wealthiest Americans to have fun in the snow … you see them going where the other “beautiful people” go skiing – Park… Read more »

Mellow Reality
Mellow Reality
8 years ago
Reply to  Harsh Reality

Zig Zag makes good papers for the price. Mammoth should be glad to be the Zig Zag of resorts.

Curious
Curious
8 years ago

Who gets the contract to print the money for another White Elephant proposed to be built for those plane loads of rich tourist that will show up any day now? Is this plan going to be funded before or after the purchase of Sam’s wood site? Commenting on the town… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

Honestly, I hope all the skiers and tourist go to June Lake anyway. It’s nicer.

amenities
amenities
8 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Not much après-ski in June

Trouble
Trouble
8 years ago

Maybe they can Dead Head signs leading to the pot shops?

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
8 years ago

since the mccoys vanished from the town, it has gone down,moral,and attitude have gone down,now it all seems to be about greed and selfishness

Sean
Sean
8 years ago

To all you negative Nelly’s – The past isn’t the future. I’m wondering how many of you smack talkers and negative personality types actually have anything invested in Main Street. I bet the answer is a big fat zero. All you’re capable of doing is sitting back and complaining about… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Sean

Here’s the reason for this effort to sell the idea of redeveloping Main St. It’s a gift to the big developers. All through out the Draft Plan they refer to “creating more space for development”. They are selling a wonderful world of fantasy to the local population just to gain… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Just curious. Why do you oppose development?
BK

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Benett, sometimes you are as reactionary and simplistic as the neo-teabaggers on you blog. I’m not opposed to growth. I’m not opposed to development. I want better development for Mammoth Lakes. We don’t need more condominium hotels or more retail space. We have plenty of both. What we don’t have… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

No need to name-call, Ken. I’m looking for intelligent, civil dialogue, and you did reveal more about why you think the way you do as a result of my question.
BK

The Times-they-are-a-changin
The Times-they-are-a-changin
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

The state of California is a very complex web of cultures. The Sierra area falls into the culture ( that originated in the L.A. area) that buys land, hope that it’s value increases, sell the land. Start all over again. And Again. And again. However – When overall buying power… Read more »

Pedro
Pedro
8 years ago

Uh…, speculating in land started in LA? Maybe Mammoth should invest in some history books before investing in Main Street.

johnjcampnfish
johnjcampnfish
8 years ago

Why not just lower the speed limit. That won’t cost much, will slow traffic down so people can see what businesses are available to them, and will add to the city coffers in the form of speeding fines.

enoughalready
enoughalready
8 years ago

Main St used to be narrower – they made it wider. Its time to make it narrower again. Old Mammoth used to be wider – they made it narrow. Its time to make it wider again. The comedy of Mammoth just does not stop. It just writes itself. You can’t… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  enoughalready

I think you’re on to something. Now that landscaped median makes sense. After a few years, they could scrape it off — after some public fund raising — and then make news with how wide 203 is.

I like it….

Mongo The Idiot
Mongo The Idiot
8 years ago
Reply to  enoughalready

I remember when Mammoth was a volcano with hourly earthquakes and houses were $19,995. Back then a snow board was a sheet of plywood you put across the driveway so you could get your car across the ditch.

Mammoth local
Mammoth local
8 years ago

Ken Warner, do you ever have anything positive to say? I think the Main Street plan is a good plan. It involved a lot of the public and property owners on Main Street. Did you ever attend any of the meetings? Do you ever go to council meetings? Why don’t… Read more »

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
8 years ago

you can paint a pig pink and its still a pig, the town stinks and has a bad reputation,
work on that,get back to basics, like treating tourists well,then maybe,the money will come back,not putting flowers in front of motel 6

Eastern Sierra Local
Eastern Sierra Local
8 years ago

Interesting that when the TOML is paying back a $42 million settlement NOW they propose adopting into their road inventory SR 203 (Main St)….which Caltrans has been wanting to get rid of for years and the numerous times the offer has been made (with a sizable amount of $$$ attached… Read more »

Shine
Shine
8 years ago

Reroute traffic down Meridian, tear down businesses on both sides of Main St and turn it into an airport with terminals at the Village gondola. With two airports, TOML will then finally be a world class destination. Really, trust me.

Just wire grant money to my account in Jackson Hole.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Shine

I like it !!!!

sean
sean
8 years ago

Main street clearly needs a massive facelift. As does the Main St retail experience. I’m happy to see someone is working on it. Please keep the ball rolling.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  sean

If you want to know what you’ll get — assuming anything is ever done — go sit in front of the bagel shop on Minaret Rd by the Village. That’s the “experience” you will get. Trash, unkempt grounds, empty store fronts and traffic and dust. A real joyful experience. All… Read more »

Sean
Sean
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

@ Ken. -I am there (The Village) a few times a week. I spend a lot more $$ at the village on food and drinks than anywhere else. I wish there was a greater variety of stores. I am guessing you really like the look and feel of the beat… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I don’t know Ken. While I agree with your questions of whether this will project will ever see fruition, I actually enjoy sitting on the patio at Toomey’s and having coffee or lunch. I think the concept has merit, but funding it is another thing altogether. The town should secure… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

That’s not something I would do let alone like it. To each his own. But your last sentence is right on. Focusing on how 203 looks seems like it misses the point entirely. There’s so much more Mammoth Lakes needs than to remodel a perfectly functional thoroughfare. I think the… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

The consultant did make it clear that not all businesses would move their buildings right up close to the street. So, owners can apparently opt out of spending anything. One point that comes up often in discussions of resorts – people like to visit those areas which are attractive, fun… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Benett, Sure, people like spiffy malls. But this is snow country. And nobody really knows what they are supporting. This “plan” is at least the third iteration of “plan” Remember the Hart-Howerton plan? And then the town sponsored a DNDP work shop and the plan that came out ot that… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I guess I don’t fear growth. I fear lack of growth. But this means a great deal of thoughtfulness and study and, of course, money to support it. If we sit back and say no change is good because big business might try to take it away from us, we… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Bennet,t, You’ve changed the argument to growth vs. no-growth. That’s not the point of this discussion — or in some cases, rant.. The question is what is the right thing to do for Mammoth Lakes now and in the future. And nobody really knows. The Village and the airport and… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

@ Ken, So you don’t like to relax in a street-side cafe and enjoy a meal or a drink? Fair enough, but many, many people do, particularly those on vacation. I think it would be short-sighted to ignore Mammoth’s rough edges when the town’s economy relies almost exclusively on tourism.… Read more »

Shine
Shine
8 years ago

SW, how much did TOML spend on this study?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Shine

I believe it was a grant for $240,000.
BK

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

And who got the money, he asked rhetorically — the developers!!! Smell the coffee…

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

It was the consultants.
BK

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

“Winter and Company Urban Design and Planning Studio” Yes, consultants — who make plans that favor big developers. Winter got this money to tell the town what the developers want to do because the developers will get the money eventually if not immediately. Do you or anybody else know where… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

I smell more UNAmerican taxes in our future… PS please hire a consultant that has lived in the snow or anything they say is just more marketing fluff from city folks. PS MLT and Rusty are leading the way with their UNAmerican ways. Clue in now and tell them to… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
8 years ago

I like the plan.
But can the town even begin to afford this?

I appears the consultants are getting rich while the TOML can’t even afford to put cops on the street.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago

If 203 is made into one lane each way, people exiting Mammoth on Sunday will simply drive down Meridian. That doesn’t meet the goal of increasing business for Main St. businesses. Also, pumice is use to gravel the road for traction during and after a storm. That pumice is turned… Read more »

SierraFan
SierraFan
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

KW, is there ever a positive plan, idea, etc. coming from you? Seriously!! Our town needs upgrades but responsibly done!

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  SierraFan

I’m pretty sure that most of us have seen 203 reduced to two lanes with 10 high berms filling the outside lanes. Take the center away with a landscaped median that can’t be plowed and what will be left? What is so great about a landscaped median anyway? The dust… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Part of the plan is to set up a snow management district to haul off the snow from Main St. The idea of the center median is to create a very different visual driving into town – not just a big thoroughfare but something more attractive. Not a bad idea… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

While I can’t offer any proof, I’m pretty sure the people coming to Mammoth — Winter or Summer — aren’t going to need a mile of pretty landscaped median to look at after driving through the Owens Valley. But then, what other reason could a developer offer to sell snake… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
8 years ago
Reply to  SierraFan

I wrote several rather long, detailed “plans” for downtown redevelopment that pointed out that Center St.and Laural Mountain Rd. were the real golc mines for redevelopment because they fron on the Shady Rest Tract which could be a World Class central park that could offer old growth forest and open… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken is often a nay-sayer. but I have to agree with him on this issue. The proposed ‘improvements’ look awful. What we have now, for whatever drawbacks people may perceive, is still much better than a narrower road, with on-street parking (how will that work when the snow comes?) and… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

The plans show a continuation of four lanes on Main Street with a landscaped median down the center. Presumably, land into the frontage roads would be used differently. You can check out the plan on the Town’s website.
Benett Kessler

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I do not understand why California does not adopt the kind of de-icing fluids like Ice-Bite (made from sugar beets) that do not cause as much corrosion as brines or rock salt, are less hazardous to the environment and don’t leave a layer of decomposed granite on the road to… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

What is never talked about is paying for the development with money saved from tax revenue, instead it’s always more taxes, fees and debt.

Shine
Shine
8 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Don’t think I would buy a bond from TOML unless it was paying 40% yearly.

MK
MK
8 years ago
Reply to  Steve

The town Probably does not have any Existing funds to pay. Hey I got up at the original TC meeting and spoke of the grandeur and wonderfulness of the ideas but asked “Where is the money going to come from” ” we are just playing an Adult game of pretend… Read more »