Letter to the editor: Thunder-rode “Kingman Route 66 Fest”

Published by The Bee News

March 26, 2023

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An open letter to the City of Kingman, to the Mayor, to the Vice Mayor, to the City Manager, to all of the City Council members, and to the 68 downtown merchants, restaurant owners, bar owners, and coffee shops.

To be sure, Thunder-Rode and Jack Alexander only want what is best for the city of Kingman, for the downtown merchants, for the citizens, for our visitors and tourists, and for the preservation of Route 66 and Kingman’s heritage as the Heart of Route 66. Nothing else could be further from the truth.

For two prior years, the city, for some unknown reason, because they will not explain themselves or tell us why, they have chosen to hold THE major annual Route 66 Fest event in a remote, unimportant, insignificant and obscure park, Lewis Park, but more commonly and locally known as dog park, several miles from our downtown Kingman, where events like this should be held.

This year, according to Becky Fawson, at the Chamber of Commerce some 68 businesses now exist in downtown Kingman.[Editor correction]  I believe they will be harmed, once again, should Mayor Watkins, City Manager Foggin and the City Council decide not to hold this important event in downtown Kingman, where it belongs.

I have communicated the downtown merchant’s desire to hold this event in downtown Kingman numerous times to Mayor Watkins, the City Council, and all of the people that may participate in this decision making process only to have my communications ignored, or to receive only a smattering of ‘we’ll see about its’ from our city leaders.

Why are they doing this? Why are they dragging their feet on bringing this important event to downtown Kingman, where the residents, the visitors, the tourists and particularly the 68 downtown merchants and businesses which will benefit the most?

There is no rhyme, reason or rationale that makes any sense to hold this event up in Lewis Park or any park other than downtown Kingman and why would we hold it in a park anyway when we have a beautiful downtown and two beautiful parks, Locomotive, park, and Metcalf park, right smack dab in the heart of our downtown?  We all saw, last year, what happened when they blocked off part of Andy Devine/Route 66 at Lewis Park, forcing traffic, including 80,000 pound 18 wheelers, to detour through narrow city streets not built for this kind of heavy traffic…..it was a mess.

And why? The question is asked. Even Josh Noble, the so-called Director of Tourism stated to one of the people working with us on bringing this event to downtown Kingman, that none of the downtown businesses would benefit, only the businesses around Lewis Park. Well, we all know that there are no businesses around Lewis park and there is no walking distance restaurant or anything from Lewis Park or even within close proximity, meaning that visitors to this event in the park when they are done with their visit, will get in their cars, go home, go shopping or continue on their way, and will not come downtown and visit downtown Kingman or any of the 68 downtown Kingman merchants.

So, without beating a dead horse, I reach out once again to the City of Kingman. to Mayor, Watkins, to City Manager Ron Foggin, to the City Council and to all those who have the authority to make important decisions like this for us and ask, once again, that they bring the Route 66 Fest to downtown Kingman in 2023 and all future years, where it belongs. And I ask everyone reading this letter to reach out to our city leaders and urge them to make the right decision and hold this important Route 66 Fest in downtown Kingman, where it belongs.


Jack Alexander


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