As a born and raised Kingmanite, small businesswoman and mother who has decided to raise her family here, I don't think I've ever been as disheartened by the direction of this city as I am now.
It seems I often find myself in the same conversations over and over again. Whether it's discussing downtown Kingman, the possibilities, the problems, ideas to attract new businesses or promote life-sustaining tourism to this town, they all end in one big road block.
And that roadblock is a lack of support from our city.
We all know of a little coffee shop that has been boarded up for months. [Editor's note: That coffee shop reopened in its new location Friday.]
I myself have spoken with four other businesses downtown that also are having a hard time working through needed renovations or expansions.
One of the biggest concerns I have is the example that is being set by the city and the message to other small businesses and entrepreneurs about whether they have a partner in the city of Kingman. Owning a business is hard work. Having the courage to quit your nine-to-five and take that leap to working for yourself is not for the faint of heart, but as we all know, small business is the economic driver of this great country.
Many here dream of having the economic growth of a Flagstaff, and a beautiful thriving downtown like those in Bisbee, Prescott, Jerome or Williams. A place where we can come together as a community to break bread, have a drink, shop and enjoy the arts. A place where Route 66, the Old West and The Santa Fe rail make the difference between a quick stop for gas or an exciting overnight destination. The difference of a revitalized downtown could lead to the discovery of our gorgeous mountains, hiking trails, parks and unique businesses and a whole lot of great people who have the Kingman spirit.
I believe our city can and must do more to lend a helping hand to our businesses. Provide incentives to fix up our old buildings while creating jobs and boosting not only our quality of life but also our sales tax revenue. I call that a win-win-win-win.
I know there are many others who feel the same as I do. I urge them to get involved, by supporting their favorite businesses, vocalizing their support and contacting your City Council members. Let's show everyone that while Kingman might be a small community, we rally around our own.
I believe now is the time to take action and that our best days are ahead of us. Let's take back our town and push it in the right direction.