I am writing to say how upset and disappointed I am that the Whitefish City Council has voted to award the “streetscaping” contract before the test period ran out.
While everyone agrees the basic infrastructure downtown is in need of repair, to re-make Whitefish in the image of the latest and trendiest urban design is silly. The trendiest buzzword in tourism is “geotourism,” a theme being promoted by the National Geographic Society in reaction to what happens when tourist hot spots get loved to death.
The so-called “Geotourism Charter,” politically correct as it is, calls for marketing of the “distinctive assets of the locale.” Hasn’t our history as a hard-working, common-sense railroad town with lots of snow left us with darn distinctive assets downtown? And what about the need to “encourage market differentiation and cultural pride?” What will we do to “differentiate” when downtown looks and feels the same as any tourist trap? As for cultural pride, when you are proud of something, you don’t bury it under generic concrete – and piles of impossible-to-plow snow.
Nick Palmer was absolutely correct when he said the council broke the faith with Whitefish citizens. He and his fellow councilors should have taken a step back before throwing our city over the cliff. His subsequent withdrawal from the election was the honorable thing to do, but it is probably too little, too late. I can only hope that the election in November, after voters have replaced three incumbents with the common sense of Phil Mitchell, Chris Hyatt and Bill Kahle, won’t be too little, too late.
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