About $1 million a year goes into the coffers of the City of Crescent City from TOT taxes. TOT stands for Transient Occupancy Tax. In other words, hotel/motel tax. There is a segment of our population that believes Crescent City is a destination point and tourism is the generating engine. Another segment believes there is little to attract and keep tourists in our area and we better start to figure out what our identity is going to be.
A number of tourist destination points have themes filled out with costumes and signage. Take for example Solvang in Southern California. Their theme is Danish and their buildings and shopkeepers dress the part. In Leavenworth, Washington, their theme is Bavarian Village. Their buildings and shops reflect that. Men, women and children have their lederhosen on with shorts, vests and feathered caps. You’ll hear yodeling and see polka dancing.
Crescent City’s theme is, "From the Redwoods to the Sea." Um. What does that conjure up? Redwood sculpture throughout the town? Seaside village with shops and restaurants lining the harbor? Don’t think so.
Right now, Crescent City is a pass-thru town. It’s where people stop over (other than for specific events like 4th of July, Noll Surfing contest, County Fair and the likes) on their way between destinations. When we have them captive, do they shop downtown? Not usually because 50% of the storefronts are empty. So, what is there for tourists to see and enjoy?
There’s Ocean World on Hwy 101. There’s KidTown and Marine Mammal Institute and the swimming pool on Front Street Park. Hardly enough to keep a family around for more than a day or two.
When tourists do walk around downtown, are the streets attractive? Can they sit down on a bench and watch life pass by? Do they have places to throw their garbage? Do the blooming flowers in the wine barrels look like people take care of them? You can virtually count on 2 hands the number of shops that tourists would want to walk into.
What then, is Crescent City gonig to be known for besides Tsunami’s?
Here’s where it gets interesting. There are those that would like to see our town become the mecca for alternative energy.
We have wind.
Why don’t we have vertical or propeller wind macines driving our energy needs?
We have sunshine.
Why don’t we hve industry producing solar energy?
We have vacant land.
Why don’t we have a waste-to-energy plant taking garbage from surrounding counties and creating jobs?
We have lots of vacant buildings.
Why don’t we have businesses in them like converting gas powered cars to hybrids?
First we have to stop kidding ourselves and realize what we are not. We are not a destination point. Let’s start planning on what we can become.