Opinion by Samuel Strait
There is a reason that tourists consider Crescent City a “pass through”
town. Part is financial, some of it is lack of amenities, and much of
it is the paucity of anything to do in Crescent City. The City Council
is banking a lot of money on Front Street and Beach Front Park filling
that glaring void. The Harbor has moved in that direction as well.
Yet, when anyone pauses to think about what has been completed at
enormous cost, “how has any of the expense resulted in any meaningful
change to the dynamic of being a ‘pass through town'”? Likely not much,
but it has created a lot of new infrastructure that now needs to be
managed and maintained. Go figure.
The City Council hasn’t figured any of that out, yet now an additional
$24,000 of taxpayer money is set to be spent to “promote the area
“utilizing an out of the area marketing firm. Leveraging Measure “S”
funding (1% sales tax) to allow the City to fund what appears more like “run-a-way
train” projects of dubious value to the community as a whole. A further
$30,000 to go the the Chamber which already has $72,000 of the City’s
money to further promote the area. Brochures, trade shows, and glossy
magazine articles are also to be in our future.
In a Council meeting filled with dollar signs, money not spent at local
businesses, lest we forget that little tidbit, the City’s bureaucracy is
“high fiving” themselves over the unanticipated income from the bed tax
and the revenue from Measure “S”, yet still complains about being
destitute. Must be, that they couldn’t squeeze out enough surplus to
direct towards the palace to be on H Street. Never fear, should any
serious effort to repair or repave City streets come to the Council’s
attention, the ready made explanation is “its too expensive.”
Instead, we are “Hollywooding” up a storm and we have a 233% up tick in
“impressions” for all the money and effort. Somehow things in town do
not appear to have changed much. Looks like everyone must be
comfortably loggered up in the nearest vacation rental or B and B.
Still what is there for tourists to do? Where is the “old town”, full
of juicy little shops, live entertainment on the weekends, with a
festival or two thrown in. Where is the event center, the up scale
grand resorts with pools to lounge beside? Museums, attractions, things
to do which keep the visitors happy, spending their money, and spending
Having traveled the entirety of the Washington and Oregon Coasts
recently, our city clearly doesn’t have the vibe of a destination town.
No crowds walking the local sidewalks, people ducking into regular shops
to spend money, and only a very few trendy places to eat. The value of
downtown Crescent City seems lost in the scattered nature of the town
where the Highway 101 corridor lacks the charm of an “old town” business
district. Poor planning and direction is stamped all over Crescent
City which has clearly adopted the pass through moniker for all visitors
to see. The question then becomes, will the recent increase in the
City’s expenditures for those tourist dollars be well spent? And, are
locals somehow allowed to get in on the “increases” from tourists
visiting our town?
As the Covid constraints begin to wane, will the City’s good fortune
continue? Will a cruise supplant the drive up the coast. Will that trip
abroad become the favored choice? Paris, in the Spring…Crescent City
in the Spring?