Mike Mooers: Support efforts to bring in a wider range of visitors to Nevada County
Back when the Tour of California rolled through, a video was produced, “Ride Fast, Live Slow,” by the Nevada City Chamber. It lives on YouTube.
The video shows a place where young and old, active and retired coexist. It’s a place where people who live for some sweat-generating, fast-paced outdoor mojo share a place with people appreciating relaxed, easygoing living in a place steeped in history. It’s place where someone can enjoy and thrive in a life that involves all of the above.
It inspired me because I finally saw the city not just relying on the coattails of the Hallmark Channel’s “Christmas Card” movie, but finally presenting itself to a range of people and promoting its most vital, untapped resource: the outdoors and the accessibility to riding, hiking, skiing and paddling.
But now the Nevada City Council has slammed the brakes on this forward motion by thwarting Duane Strawser’s need to recoup the debt he incurred promoting and bolstering their city for them.
Why is the council sending a negative message to Amgen and the Tour of California — an event that, per this newspaper, “brings thousands of tourists and onlookers to each hosting city, along with exposure from broadcast programs viewed by more than 200 different countries?”
This is shortsighted, backward thinking on the part of the Nevada City Council, and a slap in the face to a man who’s done so much to elevate the city’s profile.
What if the city worried less about ordinances that will keep tourists away, and put more focus on supporting people and ideas that open the area to a wider range of visitors?
What if we leverage what nature gives us to build excitement about where we live? What if the city actually adopted a plan for Sugarloaf Mountain?
And what if — let’s just imagine a little bit — what if there was a whitewater park akin to Reno’s under the Broad Street overpass?
What if there was a shuttle to take people to the river in the summer, Donner Summit ski resorts in the winter?
What if the city flew in editors from national outdoor and travel publications and showed them how we play?
What if there was a community center with basketball courts, a pool and climbing walls? What if Broad Street had the energy of Commercial Street?
What if some new businesses started — or moved here — that were fostered by the energy that surrounds us?
And one quick side note: if Nevada City wants to continue leveraging the town and region as a location for films like the “Christmas Card,” isn’t it time they — and the county as a whole – took an active role to support new productions in the area instead of relying on a quaint, and rapidly aging film that’s shown once a year?
I know: crowds at the river, Bay Area Auslanders like me snatching up real estate, lack of resources.
My screed isn’t about making wholesale changes. It is about supporting those that support our community, realizing where real return on a $15,000 investment is going exist, and expanding thinking to include new opportunities while still enjoying a unique downtown lit by gas lamps.
Quaint is nice. But it is passive and its pulse is weakening.
The region’s real potential is as a basecamp to the Yuba Rivers, Donner Summit, extensive mountain bike trails, top-flight road bike riding, and — El Niño willing — whitewater, flatwater and stand-up paddling.
Supporting the people who see this opportunity supports everyone who lives and works here.
Mike Mooers lives in Grass Valley.
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