Editorial: Old Town merchants can best advance their cause by being part of TVR process

There has been a cry for change with Cottonwood’s Thunder Valley Rally and the 2017 edition of this gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts has answered that call.

Certainly, it will not represent the kind of change that the most adamant opponents of TVR seek, but it represents movement in a new direction, a partial change of venue and the most important ingredient to any meaningful democratic process: compromise.

Tuesday, the Cottonwood City Council – in a split vote – agreed to continue Thunder Valley Rally for another year with one notable difference. While the daytime motorcycle-centric activities will continue to be in Old Town Cottonwood, the evening concerts will have a new home at Riverfront Park.

The city council’s decision was based on a recommendation from the grassroots Thunder Valley Rally Committee. It bears emphasis that the TVR Committee is not an arm of the city government. Its membership is not decided by the city council, nor the administrative branch of city government.

Because TVR is partially city-funded, the committee does coordinate with city staff, the parks commission and city council. Beyond that, it’s the TVR Committee – with the help of the city – that is neck-deep in the planning and organizing that makes an event like Thunder Valley Rally possible.

Because of its grassroots nature, the TVR Committee always will need new members who have interest and expertise in special event planning, and an affinity to the types of activities geared toward the motorcycle community. It’s also important to emphasize that the TVR Committee wants the voice of Old Town Cottonwood merchants represented.

Currently, there are some 20 members on the TVR Committee and only three are Old Town merchants. As to why there is not more representation from Old Town business owners, the city’s recreation services supervisor, Hezekiah Allen, says, “That invite has gone out numerous times, even to the point of asking that certain members of the Old Town Association attend all meetings of the Thunder Valley Rally Committee.”

And how was that invitation received? “They didn’t show,” Allen explained.

Ironically, it’s these very Old Town merchants who have made the biggest fuss about this event. With the exception of Old Town Frame Co. owner Trevor Gottschalk, none have come forward with any kind of plan that represents a step toward compromise.

As of this week, it’s been decided that a modified Thunder Valley Rally will continue on for another year whether the merchants in Old Town like it or not. As the community moves forward with this event, those same merchants will best advance their cause by being part of the process instead of an outside voice of dissent.

It’s time for Old Town business owners to stop being heavy on complaints, and short on solutions.

Comments

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AmyLou 1 year, 7 months ago

I understand that your article falls under the category of an editorial and therefore by definition, is your written opinion. I keep that in mind as I read the last few lines, which feel combative to me. I do not own a business in Old Town but have worked at one for 14 years. I have witnessed all the changes, good and bad, and of course formed my own opinion about the progress. I have heard many arguments on the topic of TVR and can empathize with the many sides that have been created. I myself, find the event a mix of things. I enjoy the excitement. I have made friends and repeat customers over the years and I can see the value of advertising our little Main Street to those that visit. I have also seen the violent bar fights, the garbage, and the exclusion of regular visitors to my place of employment. Many of the usual weekend visitors steer clear of Old Town for the duration of that weekend and my bank account reflects the loss of regulars. The people coming for TVR don't spend as money in restaurants and shops. I can attest to that. I would like to see the event moved to a central location where the bikers can park and camp and party down. However, I and and the people I work with, don't care enough to try and change the course. It is one weekend a year and I have plenty of other things to worry about. I do feel however that we all have the right to speak of the event, and maybe even complain a little, all while choosing to stay out of the drama surrounding the planning of the event. I know that running a small business takes an eminence amount of work and if one decides to: "Choose their battle" and stay out of the argument, I have respect for that. I still believe that they have a right to talk about the effect it has on their lives, within the neighborhood that we live and work in. Does this talking around town fall under the rights of Freedom of Speech? I think so. Does the voicing of opinion really impact the author of this article, or anyone else for that matter? I can't imagine. This editorial has a "put up or shut up" attitude, that just seems childish and rude. That, is my editorial opinion.

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AmyLou 1 year, 7 months ago

I understand that your article falls under the category of an editorial and therefore by definition, is your written opinion. I keep that in mind as I read the last few lines, which feel combative to me. I do not own a business in Old Town but have worked at one for 14 years. I have witnessed all the changes, good and bad, and of course formed my own opinion about the progress. I have heard many arguments on the topic of TVR and can empathize with the many sides that have been created. I myself, find the event a mix of things. I enjoy the excitement. I have made friends and repeat customers over the years and I can see the value of advertising our little Main Street to those that visit. I have also seen the violent bar fights, the garbage, and the exclusion of regular visitors to my place of employment. Many of the usual weekend visitors steer clear of Old Town for the duration of that weekend and my bank account reflects the loss of regulars. The people coming for TVR don't spend as much money in restaurants and shops. I can attest to that. I would like to see the event moved to a central location where the bikers can park and camp and party down. However, I don't care enough to try and change the course. Plenty of people I know that work or live in Old Town feel the same way. It is one weekend a year and I have plenty of other things to worry about. I do feel however that we all have the right to speak of the event, and maybe even complain a little, all while choosing to stay out of the drama surrounding the planning of the event. I know that running a small business takes an eminence amount of work and if one decides to: "Choose their battle" and stay out of the argument, I have respect for that. I still believe that they have a right to talk about the impact it has on their lives, within the neighborhood that we live and work in. Does this talking around town fall under the rights of Freedom of Speech? I think so. Does this voicing of opinion really impact the author of this article, or anyone else for that matter? I can't imagine. This editorial has a "put up or shut up" attitude, that just seems uncalled for. That, is my editorial opinion.

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Joeb 1 year, 7 months ago

Although we don't live full time in Cottonwood, we always make sure we're here for the TVR. It's great to see our little town come alive and it also signals in the fall season for us. We haven't missed one since we purchased a home here 5 years ago.

Yes, downtown does become congested, but it's still great to witness a mini-Sturgis and do some people watching. It certainly doesn't distract us from going downtown for a few drinks, lunch or dinner, and yes, we are seniors.

We have seen many changes in Old Town since we first started coming here in our Motorhome in 2006, and they have all been for the better. Although it may not ring the register as much for some of the Old Town businesses, I believe the positive impact it has from outside exposure is longer lasting. This may not be as tangible as good old green backs in their pockets for a few days, but I know several people from our full time home in Yuma that now visit Cottonwood and the greater Verde Valley several times a year because of it.

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Viking1 1 year, 7 months ago

I am a business owner in Old Town who attended the TVR committee meetings when allowed to by the TVR committee and if you would have attended those same meetings Dan you would have noticed that there were more merchants and residents then TVR committee members, in attendance. The committee was not receptive to us. Hezekiah is wrong. How many merchants and residents have you spoken with and meetings did you attend about TVR . Maybe you should get your facts straight before making a half-cocked comment about people complaining. Your editorial is disappointing and clearly one-sided. I attended that city council meeting and I witnessed certain council members pushing their own agenda with complete disregard for the taxpayers dollars on an event that has lost over $270,000. Council member Deb althouse who is on the TVR committee and Kyla and Karen pushing to approve the TVR event last minute that had no clear and decent detailed proposal with true cost to the city and Council receiving information that night with no time to review is ridiculous and very scary. This shows me lack of experience, professionalism and knowledge to do what is in the taxpayers best interests from these council members The city has real problems and with the clear split in Council the City is in trouble. It is the businesses and residents who pay taxes ,licenses and fees that generate income for the city not this event. Also what the city is calling an investment of 44,000 for TVR 2017 means the amount they are projecting to lose this year on top of the 270,000 from past years. Why is so much time wasted on this one event that has cause so many problems and cost the city so much. There are truly more important issues the council and City staff should be spending their time on . Do your research people start watching the YouTube videos of the council meetings if you can't attend and make your own decisions ,not what you read and hear from an outside source.

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