Make Downtown Great Again

Congratulations to the new mayor and city council members in 2017.

One hears and reads about the importance of small business towards the economy from your elected officials in Washington to the local level. This past fall, Governor Ducey mentioned the importance of small business and just recently Mayor Gates commented in this paper, “Our first goal is to create policy and that vision for what we want for … downtown ... to look like.”

Hopefully, the mayor’s vision is the resurgence and success of small businesses. I imagine the Economic Development Journal of Mohave County also supports small businesses and brick-and-mortar stores.

However, that principle and policy seems to have fallen on deaf ears with the management for the City of Kingman. Management’s goal for the downtown business area is a “Party Playground.” Between street closures and quasi-street closures by the City of Kingman and car clubs, there were 9-10 closures from mid-September through mid-November. The rest of the year had an equal amount of street closures and that’s excluding the months of January-March with zero.

All of these street closures adversely affect small businesses, mainly on Saturday, their busiest day of the week.

The City of Kingman needs to move the Party Playground from the downtown business area to an area that does not adversely affect small businesses. Some possible suggestions: Beale St. between Grandview and First St. (Locomotive Park), Centennial Park or the Fairgrounds.

I’m sure the new mayor and city council will find a better location for Kingman’s Party Playground.

Now, before folks start complaining about this letter, let me ask two questions: Do you own a small business? Do you think your business would be negatively affected if the city shut down your street and ancillary streets approximately 20 work days in a year? That’s an equivalent of 40 percent of your busiest days negatively affected in a year! The city does not close streets affecting Dambar Steakhouse, Daily Miner, Home Depot, Smiths, etc. So why close streets affecting downtown small businesses?

As so often is stated, the biggest hindrance to business is government interference.

In this case, it’s the City of Kingman’s management.

Ben Poor

Kingman