Thank you for your email and for sharing your thoughts on how the City can improve the Kingman Route 66 Fest. It is certainly my hope that as this annual Kingman Route 66 Fest grows over the years that we will see event activities along the entire stretch of our section of Route 66. I know the City Team is willing and anxious to work with businesses and groups that want to help increase the number of things for festival attendees to do. I believe over time the Route 66 Fest will be a premier event that will draw people from across the country and around the world.
Mr. Alexander, I understand that you support the City putting on this event, but do not support the location. I feel I should share the City’s goal for the event in hopes that it better helps explain why the Lewis Kingman Park was selected. Our goal is to hold an event that will draw people nationally and internationally to Kingman, which in turn will have a positive economic impact for restaurants, hotels/motels, retailers and entertainment providers. The City hopes/wants all businesses in our community to benefit. Lewis Kingman Park is centrally located on our section of Route 66, which will give visitors the ability to visit all aspects of our community.
Lewis Kingman Park offers a historical aspect that is a draw for visitors as it was the location of the original rest stop for the connection between Route 66 and SR 93. The City owns property next to the park for event parking. It is also much easier to close a portion of Route 66 in front of the park for the motorcycle and car shows as well as other activities being planned for the Festival. As I indicated earlier, it is the City’s hope that additional things will be offered along our section of Route 66 as the event matures.
I do want you to know that the City of Kingman remains committed to our historic downtown. The City will continue to sponsor and/or support all the events and activities that happen in the downtown. The following are some of the events and activities the City of Kingman has/is sponsoring and/or supporting:
Route 66 Fun Run
Chillin on Beale and the Chillin on Beale Halloween Bash
Downtown Ghost Walks
Andy Devine Parade
Very Merry Parade of Lights
Veterans Day Parade
National Road Trip Day Event
The Jim Hinckley Walk About
The Sounds of Kingman
Mustang Motorcycle Rally
Along with the City sponsoring and supporting events in the downtown, we have and continue to invest in the downtown. The City added the gateway arch, the hugely successful drive-thru Route 66 shield, added new signage for the visitor center, made improvements to the visitor center, offered a parklet grant program and a façade improvement grant program. We purchased a building at 519 Beale Street that will be remodeled into an electric car museum, which will draw people to the downtown year-round. The has also been working on a Beale Street streetscape plan and construction of phase 1 is expected to start this fiscal year.
I do not highlight these things to brag or suggest we are done working to make our historic downtown the best it can be. I believe these things show that the City has done and continues to do good things for the downtown and holding one event that is more centrally located to all the businesses in the community is not detrimental or disingenuous to the downtown. I feel our downtown businesses can benefit from this event by being part of the Festival. I know our Main Street group helped with the Festival last year and made money for the Jim Hinckley statue project. I understand that they are planning on helping again this year and will make additional money that they plan on using to improve the downtown.
In closing, the Kingman Route 66 Fest highlights and benefits all of our great city and we hope will do so for many years to come.
Ken Watkins, Mayor