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home : opinions : letters May 25, 2016

2/18/2014 10:34:00 AM
Letter: Historical Preservation Commission out of touch with Williams

To the editor:

My name is Thomas Ross. I live in Williams with my wife and our four children. We own and operate the I-40 Fleet rental shop on Route 66 on the east end of town.

Over the last five years I have attended a number of public hearings and town hall meetings. Some have been held by groups and committees such as Planning and Zoning, school board, city council, Elephant Rocks, etc.

I am embarrassed to say I have never sat in on a meeting held by the Historic Preservation committee. That is to say until this week. Now I am embarrassed for those poor people who were subjected to the show of misplaced "power" that happened there.

Tuesday Feb. 11 at 11 a.m. in the city council chambers the committee convened to question the owner/operator of the Route 66 Zipline as to why he did not get their blessing before erecting the part of the tourist attraction that stands within their boundaries. Namely, the towers behind the parking lot next to the City Recreation Center and the Chamber of Commerce building.

There was quite a large turnout for such a meeting. I was there because I am interested in the process a business has to go through and I want to know all the right steps to take if I plan to invest further in the community. Others were there for their own reasons but most took it upon themselves to voice their opinion about the zipline. By a margin of 19-2 the overwhelming position of those who attended (mostly downtown business owners and representatives) supported the attraction.

The committee wanting to display their relevance, voted almost unanimously to decline the zipline's request to extend the agreement with the city of Williams. Although the vote was 5-0, I say almost unanimously because I am not sure they knew that they were in fact voting. I am certain they all did not know what they were voting on.

The four members that asked Mr. Logan Checketts questions about his attraction asked, "Will the price be the same to ride it?" "Why do you think your zipline will bring more people here than the Grand Canyon does?" "Why do you want to take one zipline down? I think that's stupid," and "Why did you bypass this committee last year?"

I swear those were the actual member questions. There wasn't a single question related to historical theme or preservation. One member even said that she rode a "real" zipline over a rain forest in Costa Rica. How nice for her. She said she thinks it's a dumb idea to ride a Route 66 zipline and a waste of money. It is fine for her to have an opinion like that, but she was supposed to be there to consider whether or not the attraction fits in with the historical theme of Williams, namely, Route 66, which to most people is old cars, neon signs, 50s and 60s music, etc. Did you ever see the movie "Cars?"

There wasn't even a single member who knew how many businesses were residing in the historical district. They were uninformed, unsure of their purpose, asked unrelated questions and did not know proper procedure or rules for open meetings. In short, they are irrelevant. Their decision should hold no weight. I am embarrassed for Williams that future business will go before them.

Thomas Ross


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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

The town needs every job it can get.
I dont see how the zipline can bother anyone.
You have to look up, be looking for it to even notice it.

Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Article comment by: Steven Strum

Way to go Tom - you are in touch -- most business people are in touch with good ideas - not committees. It is a fit -- last time I looked there was a cool 57 Chevy staged at the zip line entrance. Perfect for Route 66. The more attractions -- the better for all businesses. Maybe the committee should go to Washington D.C. -- where everyone is out of touch.. Don't mean to a smart aleck but come come on folks...

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: This town is hopeless

Thomas Ross, I beg to differ. The HPC is perfectly in touch with what the majority of the residents of this town want. Sit around listening to 50's music at overpriced restaurants, walking around town and shopping for western gifts, going to the next store and shop for western gifts, go across the street and find some more western gifts. The people in this town don't want anything new and exciting as it takes away from the "old west feel". We don't need to make our town interesting for anyone under 50, since they are all snot-nosed kids driving their computerized cars and listening to that thug music. The teenagers who rode the zipline with their parents need to get out of town anyway, we don't want their kind!!

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: harriet Lockwood

I feel that tom ross is right. The historical commisstion does know anything about Williams.The historical commission had not done there job as far a perserving the history of the down town. Alot of change done and it is not of the history of williams. thank you harriet

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article comment by: Misty Circle

Mr. Ross is correct. That is why so many decent former residents moved away and why city employees are "retiring" all of a sudden.

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