The first month of a brand new year is winding down. That
is a perfect time for some very serious conversation, honest discussion, and evaluation. Will it be business as usual (political turmoil, choosing sides, lamenting missed opportunities when the new year rolls around, and looking for someone to blame) or will we end the year with an ear to ear grin knowing that 2018 was when Kingman came together as a community with an eye on the future. Will this be the year we build on the passion and sense of community purpose made manifest in the historic business district renaissance or will it be another year of stagnation? Will you we be a community with an eye on the future or will we continue using the rear view mirror as a planning tool and stake our future on the malls and suburbia that spelled success in 1959? Let’s polish the crystal ball, and dare to imagine Kingman as it could be.
We have the world’s only electric automobile museum. This summer will mark four years since it opened. In that four year span, an amazing array of cars have been added to the collection through donations to the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation. Recently the prestigious Peterson Automotive Museum donated numerous vehicle. Thanks to Scott McCoy of The Gold Doctor, and the generosity of Laron Engineering, the foundation has a place to store them for a few months. Then what?
What if, as initially discussed, the partnership between the city and the foundation resulted in the creation of a dedicated museum? What if that museum was a state of the art green facility? What if it was linked to Mohave Community College with programs and apprenticeships that taught about electric vehicle repair, solar energy, or wind power? Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico created a wind energy technology program, and has garnered international attention as well as participation.
In 2014, we debuted the Route 66 Walk of Fame. Before the endeavor was abandoned, Kingman received international media attention, and even offers of assistance for its development from throughout the world, and the embryonic initiative became a destination. That opportunity has passed. Several communities took the idea and ran with it, one with rather dramatic results. Still, what if we as a community came together and created the one and only Route 66 welcome center. We have gifts from international visitors and Route 66 enthusiasts scattered throughout the city. What if we gathered these and displayed them in one location? What if we had the only information center for the entire Route 66 corridor?
The transformation of Seligman from a town on the fast track to becoming a ghost town into an internationally acclaimed destination is built on the drive, the passion, the vision, and the subsequent popularity of one man, the town barber. What if Kingman got behind the men and women in town that are celebrities (artists like Gregg Arnold) and helped market them as attractions?
Stop by Southwest Trading Company or Black Bridge Brewery, Garibaldi’s or Gracie’s Vintage or The Farmhouse and talk to the owners. The passion, the enthusiasm, and the excitement that they display is infectious.
In the late 1920’s, with the establishment of a major airport, the flow of traffic along Route 66 and the railroad, a near perfect climate, and unique tourist attractions, there was speculation that savvy investors would turn their eyes toward Kingman as it was a community that had the potential to eclipse Phoenix. Route 66 is more popular than at anytime in its history. We have Amtrak, we have an industrial park that could be the envy of most any community in America, we have an ideal climate, we have I-40 and soon I-11, we have tourist attractions unequaled anywhere in the world, and we have a passionate community of visionaries. Is this the year that we set out to fulfill the prophecy of the 1920’s? This term is used often but we are a community at the crossroads, just as we have been for 90 years.