Should Newberry Springs
Continue To Dissolve?

      Last week one of Newberry Springs last iconic service stations along Historic Route 66 had its fuel dispenser canopy destroyed.  Many communities along Route 66 find that preserving their cultural and historical service station landmarks economically benefit their communities by attracting tourism.  The damage is yet another setback for Newberry Springs.

Destroying everything of value in Newberry Springs.

November 5, 2014

      The unbelievable destruction at the service station across the highway from Deels Plumbing last week was depressing.  Here was a fine historical service station that was poised to become a highly desirable property within the next couple of years with the upcoming National Scenic Byway designation.  On October 28, 2014, a Halloween horror came early.

      People fortunate enough to own such properties, such as in Needles, Amboy, Rancho Cucamonga, and in other states, are recognizing the high value of iconic service stations and are restoring them for other uses.  Matching-grants worth tens of thousands of dollars are available each year for free from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, specifically to restore these cultural landmarks along Historic Route 66.

      To make an analogy from a line in the Disney movie Cars, stated by the leading character, Lightning McQueen,

          Newberry Springs - the glorious jewel strung on the necklace of Route 66 - the Mother Road !

Route 66 was once strung with hundreds of service stations offering gas, water, oil, and tires.  With so few service stations remaining, they are now highly prized icons.  Newberry's great loss of another one tarnishes its jewel that has already been badly blemished this year by Supervisor Robert Lovingood's support of Thomas Stickley's application for Sleiman Zeinaty, Active Towing's owner, for an incompatible land use zoning change allowing an eyesore Big-rig wrecker service, and wreckage storage yard, to front Route 66.

      For applicant Thomas Stickley, Supervisor Lovingood once again accepted a county's Land Use Service's highly incomplete CEQA report that failed, among other items, to include the required adequate consideration of the negative impact upon the Cultural Itinerary, economics, road wear, 24/7 noise, et cetera that would impact Historic Route 66, or consider alternative sites as required by law; or the potential contamination to soil and water supply that a wrecked Big-rig impound and storage yard may cause without proper mitigation measures.  But then, Supervisor Lovingood doesn't live in Newberry Springs and Newberry Springs is a dump site.  The community will have to suffer with his decision for years.

      It should be noted that subsequently, Lovingood has graciously committed his staff to work closer with the California Historic Route 66 Association on future Route 66 matters.  Late, but a very positive step forward.

      Needles' Texaco Station on Route 66 has been restored and serves as an economic tourist stimulus.  Plans are to open a small business at the site.

      With Route 66 historical service stations in demand, especially with their fueling pumps as this one in Newberry Springs had, the loss of the canopy is a big disappointment.

      On third-party information that the Blotter has acquired, it appears that state HAZMAT mandated the removal of three old underground storage tanks at the station.  In the removal process, the associated underground piping to the fuel dispensers were also being removed.  Rather than taking the time to properly dig-up the pipes, someone had the brilliant idea of pulling the pipes out of the ground with a tractor.

      Well, the pipes were connected to the fueling island that, in part, supported the canopy's pillars.  With the brute force of the tractor pulling the piping, the canopy's pillars became destablized enough to cause the canopy to collape westward.

      It is also reported that while the owner considered the possibility of reestablishing the canopy, local scavangers stole portions of the metal.

      The underground tanks have now been removed and the ground filled in.  Unfortunately, without the overhead canopy, the high value and desirability of the remaining structure as an iconic service station has been greatly diminished.

Newberry Springs as an alternative to I-40.

      The National Scenic Byway will attract a large increase of tourists onto Route 66; yet facing reality, many other non-cultural and non-heritage travelers will not abandon the modern Interstate-40 between Ludlow and Mountain Springs Road (near Needles) to experience the 8-mile longer segment loop of Route 66 with its roller coaster Whoop-Dee-Doo dips.  But many will option for the inviting short 5-mile parallel trip through Newberry Springs to acquire an easy glimpse of a marvelous Mother Road experience between I-40 exits 18 and 23.

      All that Newberry Springs needs to do is prepare an enhanced experience for them.  Newberry has had years of opportunty to economically cash-in on its unique location on Historic Route 66; but the community has ignorantly failed to do so.  Rather than attact tourism, Newberry Springs has been actively doing the opposite.  In the past, Newberry Springs has lacked vision and leadership from the CSD boards, the Chamber, and other civic organizations.

      This is a particularly good time for Newberry Springs to act as for a few years, the Route 66 loop between Ludlow and Mountain Springs Road will likely be closed to any vehicle over 3-tons due to the storm damage in early September 2014.  Tour excursion buses and heavy vehicles will be banned on much of the National Scenic Byway placing Newberry in a very good position.  Unfortunately, Newberry's leadership will probably do nothing.

Newberry Springs is infested with problems.

      Newberry Springs has been earning a pungent moniker of Newberry Shitsville that spins from the belief that it is the capital of the county's dumping; including the Archibek clan's promotion of dumping urban toxic sh*t and urban waste by the thousands of tons upon Newberry's aquifiers as farm fertilizer.

      Between the (1) hazardous contamination by the dumping of toxic materials; and (2), the renegade farmers bad faith of reopening fallow fields during a period of water rampdowns; and (3), the destruction of the community's aquifiers by the farmers buying or leasing of water rights that are unused by dormant fields to skirt the intent of the Superior Court's water adjudication rampdown rulings; and (4), the Newberry Community Church's allowance of very high power cellular transmission arrays being established; and (5), other Newberry Springs iconic structures of cultural significance being allowed to rot; and (6), inadequate Internet connection service; and (7), the community's uncontrolled drug problems; and (8), with a shameful lack of community programs for its children. . .  should the Newberry Springs community simply continue to dissolve itself?

      Newberrians have grown so accustom to the nonsense going on in Newberry that most seem to believe that such shenanigans are normal, civilized behavior.

      If the community itself doesn't care to better itself, why should the county or anyone else care?

Related past blogs:
Thomas Stickley pulls scam on lackadaisical county officials. -  4/2/14
County Supervisors Slam Newberry Springs with zoning approval. -  7/4/14

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