Mammoth Track Project to get final push

The first boatload of money from Measure U funds will arrive in mid-May, and the Mammoth Track Club will be waiting with open arms.

“Right now I would say the Mammoth Track Club is front and center” to receive a major boost, said the town’s Recreation Manager Stuart Brown.

In all, the club and its Whitmore Track project stands to gain $300,000 to $400,000 in funding from Measure U. If that happens, and it is likely, then a shovel can go into the ground this spring and summer.

Measure U funds were established when voters approved a self-taxing measure providing for “planning, construction, operation, maintenance, programming, and administration of facilities and projects for mobility, recreation and arts and culture.”

The new money is similar to the familiar Measure R fund, but includes mobility and arts and culture. Measure R is strictly a recreation fund.

A lot has happened since that vote, though. The deepening economic recession and accompanying budget cuts throughout the town forced the Measure U Steering/Application Committee to place strict priorities on what projects would receive the most money in the initial wave of funding.

The committee, a group of town citizens, said the priorities would go in this order:

1. Economic Stimulus

2. High Impact

3. Ready to Go

4. Leverage

5. Plan for the future

Of all the projects that have been suggested for Measure U funds, the track project above all meets all of the criteria.

In a report to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council last week, Brown addressed each stipulation and the council approved his report in barely a blink of an eye.

The top priority, Brown wrote, is the economic stimulus.

“To stimulate a challenging economy brought on by the great recession, low snowfall (declining TOT, sales tax, etc.), and financial difficulties facing the town, the steering committee believes the economic stimulus should be the highest priority of the spring award.”

In addressing the “high impact” element of the awards, Brown wrote projects would be favored as long as they create high public visibility, brand awareness, and advertising/promotional value.

As for the “Ready to Go” aspect of initiatives, the track project meets them all in the sense that track project leaders have completed a feasibility study, already have a big chunk of funding, a business plan, and approval for construction or implementation.

Members of the steering committee are:

Rich Boccia, Mammoth Unified School District; Bill Sauser, Recreation Commission; Jim Smith, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area; Bill Taylor, Mammoth Lakes Foundation; Joyce Turner, Mammoth Lakes Events Coalition; John Vereuck, Mobility Commission; John Wentworth, MLTPA; Pat Agnitch, Alternate, Recreation Commission; and Mark Deeds, Alternate, Mammoth Events Coalition.