Putnam Award for Excellence goes to Mammoth Gateway Project


Mammoth Lakes, CA – After three years of meticulous planning, indomitable fundraising and generous contributions from the entire community, the Mammoth Gateway Project is now complete and has been awarded the 2013 “Putnam Award for Excellence” from the League of California Cities.

“The Mammoth Gateway Community Project illustrates how cooperation between local, state and federal agencies as well as business and community volunteers can help make a lasting first impression for visitors in a town where the local economy is highly dependent on tourism,” stated Elizabeth Tenney, Planning and Economic Development Commissioner.

A representative from The League of California Cities will personally present the award to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council and the project partners on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Suite Z (Minaret Village Mall), 437 Old Mammoth Road.

This prestigious award was established in 1982 by the League of California Cities to recognize outstanding achievements made by cities that uniquely contribute to community residents and businesses.

The purpose of the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence is to promote the outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by city governments to:

  

Improve the quality of life in local communities

Implement efficiencies in service delivery and operations

Provide services responsive to the local community


Contact: Stuart Brown, Recreation Manager & Public Information Officer – (760) 934-8989 ext. 210

“The Town’s award, in the category of City-Business Relations, highlights the unique cooperation between the public and private sectors to construct an iconic symbol representative of the rugged character of the region and resilience of the community,” stated Jessica Morriss, Transportation Planner for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

Spearheaded by long-time local and Planning and Economic Development Commissioner, Elizabeth Tenney, The League’s award recognizes the collaborative partnership required to make the Gateway Project a reality. The Town would like to recognize the following local, state, and federal agencies, as well as volunteers and private sector donors, including: Inyo National Forest – Mammoth-Mono Ranger District, County of Mono, Mammoth Lakes Town Council, Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Art Fund, WalkerOne Creative Workshop, Woodward Architecture, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, The Chadmar Group/Snowcreek Resort, Mammoth Community Water District, Mono County Superior Court, Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Mammoth Lakes Tourism and the many other donors (large and small) who contributed money and expertise.

The Gateway monuments, which were completed in the Spring of 2013 after almost three years of planning, design, and construction, have become a source of pride for the community and clearly demonstrates that Mammoth Lakes is still moving forward. Designed and built to last a hundred years or more, the Gateway to Mammoth Lakes became a popular visitor photo opportunity even before it was finished.

The Gateway’s north side on US Forest Service land, with the cooperation of Jon Regelbrugge, District Ranger, Inyo National Forest, has been landscaped with native plant seed and boulders. An abstract graphic of mountain slopes in raw steel was fabricated at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and installed on the west side of the north monument. The graphic complements the John Muir quote departure message “Going to the mountains is going home. See you again soon.” on the south monument.

Around the south monument, plant varieties in the drought-tolerant demonstration garden have been labeled for ready reference by homeowners, condo managers and landscapers. The Gateway demonstration garden was commissioned by Mammoth Community Water District and designed and installed by Bob Weiland, Weiland & Associates, Inc. Mono County Superior Court is supplying the water from the Court’s dedicated irrigation meter.

Additional information regarding this prestigious award by the League of California Cities can be viewed online at: www.cacities.org/Top/Partners/Helen-Putnam- Awards.aspx, or by contacting Jessica Morriss, Transportation Planner for the Town of Mammoth Lakes at (760) 934-8989 ext. 225.

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31 Responses to Putnam Award for Excellence goes to Mammoth Gateway Project

  1. Mammoth local October 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Elizabeth Tenney raised almost $100,000 in donations single-handedly by having fundraisers. About $250,000 in materials and labor were donated. And the rest of the funding came from the towns public art fund, which is money paid by developers. Those are the facts. There was no public tax payer money spent on the project. It was a community effort, but you people always want to see something sinister. The land was donated by the county, the water district donated the landscaping, the court is donating the water, the mountain donated the steel and steel work and many others donated their time and money. Many people stop and take pictures at the monument as a way to remember their special visit to mammoth. Oh and btw, the lions club supported the project, even though that meant taking down their monument.

  2. Mike Johnson October 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    I see a lot tourists taking photos of the new signs, on a daily basis during the summer. This was not the case with old entrance sign. At least this “monument” is a great counterbalance to the new courthouse we were stuck with, thanks to the State government. Remember, for the longest time, the first thing our visitors saw was McDonalds! I hope the pumice spread by Caltransb during winter doesn’t prematurely ruin the facade.

  3. Eastern Sierra Local October 11, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    …and while the Town was ram-rodding the Gateway signs through its approval; they were simultaneously complaining and having public meetings about Caltrans’ new changeable message sign to warn drivers about conditions on 395 during winter storms. Caltrans’ sign is a fraction of the sign of those monoliths the Town built.

  4. annoyed October 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Does anything EVER make any of you happy? I swear, just a bunch of complainers. Get a freaking life already.

    • Mongo The Idiot October 11, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      Mongo happy.
      You no like Mongo?

    • Are you Kidding me!!!! October 11, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Are we ever happy? Of course. The problem is that this is about an award for getting along. The purpose of the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence is to promote the outstanding efforts and innovative solutions by city governments.
      So we should be happy our government overrides the will of the people? Violates the public trust.

      Now if this project was like a Amish barn raising where the public participated to get some monumental thing done that is innovative for a modern town. Here the intention was to liquidate a public fund and build something that was not necessarily needed. We already had a monument built by the lyons club and local contractors. This was torn down.

      This project was about making money for a few locals and praise for a few more.

      • Mark October 11, 2013 at 11:43 am #

        And the award was buracracy patting buracracy on the back and giving them an atta boy. I say big deal who cares.

  5. Joe October 10, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    I’ve enjoyed going to Mammoth as a break from the Bishop heat, do a little shopping and take in some mountain air. During my last trip I noticed an extra sales tax called a “tourism assesment tax” or something ridiculous like that. That brings the total tax up to nearly 10%. I like to keep my business local but until I see that extra gouge go away, I’m not buying anything in ML. Makes me feel like I’m on the hook for the incompetent leadership of a bankrupt hamlet in the hills.

    • Desert Tortoise October 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      “Bishop heat”. ??? Come south and find out what heat is.

  6. Pinky And The Brain October 10, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Like putting a statue of the Virgin Mary outside a brothel…
    Well said!
    If anyone involved in the monument had actually read any of Muir’s works they never could have chosen them for this debacle.
    The printed word is dead and this is just another nail in the coffin.

  7. allen berrey October 10, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    Invoking the image of John Muir at the entrance to the Town of Mammoth Lakes is like putting a statue of the Virgin Mary outside a brothel. Meadows turned into golf courses, the landscape littered with condos, strip malls, gas stations, motels, and associated schlock.

    A town devoted not to the passive, contemplative exploration and experience of nature and the wilderness, as John Muir advocated, but to the energy-sucking, too-expensive-for-most, self-indulgent sport of skiing and snowboarding. It is simply a bit of Anaheim with snow.

    I guess the thinking was that well, gee John was from Scotland, after all, and that’s were golf stared so…yeah, he probably would have thought Mammoth a bitchin’ place to hang and play a few rounds.

    While the design is beautiful and the construction first-rate, the monument’s message is nothing more than a hypocritical, blasphemous, self-congratulatory bit of self-promotion.


    • Wayne Deja October 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      allen….Maybe they should have a statue of a couple guys giggling,sitting on a couch with a wee-remote in their hand in front of a television…..with a bong sitting on a coffee table nearby.

      • allen berrey October 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

        Dave McCoy’s persona would have made a lot more sense than John Muir’s.

      • Trouble October 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

        Wayne- that sounds like great ideas to me. A cold keg for those hot nights might help.

    • Desert Tortoise October 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      I expect you will be the first to move out to relieve the over crowding. Until you move, you will glady do without gas stations or grocery stores in order to restore the state of nature. Of course you will. Naturally. Right?

    • Mary's son might not agree. October 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

      “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” (Matt 21:31)

    • Mark October 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Allen Berry your comment is spot on. And I’m sure John Muir is rolling over in his grave

    • CALM DOWN October 12, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Calm down, Allen. Mammoth Lakes wouldn’t exist without the ski area. There are plenty of places in the Sierras where you can enjoy the passive, contemplative exploratoin and experience of nature and the wildnerness. Dave McCoy built a world class ski resort and the town grew to support MMSA. Thanks to the foresight and efforts of Dave, we have a mountain town surrounded by beauty with recreational opportunities for all. Enjoy it for what it is, not for what you want it to be.

      • Ken Warner October 12, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

        Mammoth Lakes was here for a hundred years before the ski area. It was a mining, logging and pack station for people going over Mammoth Pass to the central valley.

        If Mammoth Mountain sank into the ground today, the lakes and back country would still be there. Have you been in the lakes basin in the Summer? Or Red’s Meadow? It’s packed with people.

        But believe what you want. It’s a free country.

  8. Mark October 10, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    That’s one of the best post I’ve read here in awhile.

    The gateway sign makes my stomach turn

  9. Are you Kidding me!!!! October 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    I read this and I like go, Am I dreaming this. Could this be real.

    The CA league of cities gives out an award to The town who’s Public Arts commission felt so strongly against the project that the commissioners resigned!!!!

    They give an award to a corrupt and arrogant city that Declares BK then goes on a spending spree to liquidate all town cash accounts so that a BK Judge cannot make the town use this money to pay it’s debt.

    They decimate the Mammoth Lakes police Dept. because they town is BankRupt.

    They Decimate the Town staffing. Because the Town is Bankrupt

    They spent thousands on rock from state in the northwest. Like we don’t have good rocks here locally. Dude open your eyes.

    This thing cost the town several hundred thousand dollars and a grand total of almost 3/4 of a Million when the town was facing BK.

    Are YOU frikin Kidding. You give a award for COOPERATION EFFORTS.


    This is a direct slap in the face to the people of the town that have to live with this corruption.

    • Dingo October 10, 2013 at 11:47 am #

      Are you Kidding me, we got thumbs down from the same three people.
      I can guess where all 3 work

    • Pedro October 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Humans are only animal that can laugh at their own pain. Your post had me doubled over laughing. I had to wait a day to read it again and it still cracks me up. You are so painfully spot on. The whole history is so surreally absurd. Thank you.

      • Mongo The Idiot October 11, 2013 at 8:16 am #

        What about the Hyena?

    • CALM DOWN October 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

      You forget that much of the materials and labor were donated and private fundraisers were held to support this project. The funds used were from the Arts Commission, and could only be used for public art. The Commission wanted to build a monument elsewhere. When they considered funding the new monument, they determined this monument wasn’t art! How could one monument be art, but this isn’t? Their other plan was to install fish on sticks throughout town. To some that may be art., to others fish on sticks are tacky. Commissions make recommendations to the Council which has the final say. They chose the entrance monument over fish sticks, a wise choice in my opinion. I have seen many people stopped taking photos in front of the monument, so some people seem to appreciate them.

      • Shine October 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Still questionable that TOML would award quarter million dollars while in debt negotiations and considering bankruptcy as option. Court may have held that those funds be used to satisfy debt.

        If, in anticipation of bankruptcy, this was an attempt in keeping funds from being seized by Court, it was shady and just adding to the burden of the town. If the money had been spent after the bankruptcy ruling it might be seen differently.

      • Pedro October 12, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

        Because art is in the eye of the individual. Since I consider pole dancing an art should the Commission approve funding a strip club? The Commission decides for the community as a whole and has to answer to them. Maybe painting murals on the courthouse or one of the many buildings in town that could use a coat of paint would have been better.

      • Ken Warner October 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

        I also think “Fish on Sticks” are cheap and tacky. But I also don’t think the “monument” is art. The money used for it could keep Whitmore Pool open for 3 years. That would be a better use of the money. There was a perfectly nice entrance marker in just about the same place. It was there for a long time. I looked like it belonged there. I looked like is was of the area.

        This monument is yet more, in your face self aggrandizing that Mammoth Lakes seems to do so well — oh well…

      • mk October 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

        Calm down,
        You act like we did not know the public art funds were restricted. However as others have stated the town nor anyone else knew what moves a BK judge would make to have the debt paid. This is probably why the town settled instead of having a BK Judge decide for the town,

        The Town council appoints commissions and needs to trust their conclusions. Overruling is not something to give out an award over.
        As far a this self serving award.

        You just confirmed that lack of cooperation. And this corrupt little town in the mountains just was rewarded for just that!

  10. Pedro October 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    Those beautiful monuments “make a lasting first impression” of about five minutes until you see how blighted Mammoth is.

  11. Dingo October 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    John Muir and the Sierra Nevada Mountains are what won that award, don’t kid.


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