Community lost vision

Guest CommentaryDecember 17, 2013 

When I came to this community some years ago I heard of developing the river area in Oakhurst. I saw a drawing of small stores and restaurants along the edges of the river. The area runs from the college, north. The chamber of commerce championed this effort and it has since died.

Oakhurst has not really changed in a long time. Sure some stores have changed but the community is mostly the same. There is no sense of modernization as our main highway remains un-curbed in most places and buildings lack any real updating.

We have forgotten we are a tourist town and we have done nothing new to bring in more tourists.

Solvang, San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf, Riverwalk in San Antonio Texas, downtown San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica Pier area, Old Town Sacramento are on the places-to-see list — Oakhurst is not on anyone's list anywhere.

There is nothing to see or do in Oakhurst from a tourist perspective, we are merely between here and there and offer at best a place to stay overnight and eat. We are a rockslide away of Yosemite being closed down and Bass Lake alone will not sustain us.

The community struggles to provide basic services and shopping. Urgent Care may go away and there are no advanced medical services here. The bowling alley is gone and we almost lost our theater. We complain about shopping in Fresno but are too small to attract even a department store.

The lack of jobs drives the younger generation away so we are more of a retirement community but when you are sick you have to move away to be near medical services.

We complain about the lack of police and fire protection and we are amongst the poorest counties in California. Bringing in more tourist dollars will help the tax base and help to grow our community a little to create the synergy needed to support the community's needs.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Bureau seem to be satisfied with the status quo.

Ask Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler about his vision and what he is doing about it? We are going to have county elections next June. Will the candidates have a vision?

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