The city of Morro Bay spends 12 percent more per citizen for police protection than the median for California cities. Police and fire protection, though trending lower, is still 63 percent of the city budget compared to the California median of 59 percent (californiacityfinance.com).
In the spirit of fairness and broad-based government efficacy, the city arts and entertainment budget could be increased to a fraction of public safety spending. Miraculously, funds for fun could be self-generating.
Our landmark power plant could be offered to Christo as a site for one of his world-famous installation art pieces. He just needs a venue. He raises the capital himself. The exhibits attract hundreds of thousands of visitors.
Remember the line of giant, poppy-like umbrellas decorating Highway 5, or the draped gates of Central Park in New York? Can you envision our stacks bedecked with colorful 200-foot-long banners, or whatever he and his wife imagine?
If Christo didn’t want to incorporate the generation building in his artwork, the plant owners could sponsor a contest to create perhaps the world’s largest mural.
A $100,000 prize should attract the best mural painters in North America and beyond. Prize money could come from entry fees and modest donations from tourist businesses, just like July 4 fireworks, only with longer lasting and more notable results.
Once the allure of these attractions wanes, the city, outdoing county wineries, could install the world’s tallest and longest zip lines. One line could go from the south tower above the Embarcadero to Tidelands Park.
What a thrill to sail over the tourist shops and scout out the best shopping before lunch! A line from the middle tower could go to the north jetty for a thrilling perspective of the rock.
In an unprecedented nod to the oft-slighted part of the city beyond Highway 41, the north stack zip line could terminate in Cloisters Park. At last north Morro Bay residents would be inextricably linked to the rest of Morro Bay.
Unique Morro Bay arts and entertainment would not interrupt power production. Public safety infrastructure is in place to cover extra activities. People recreating would spend more money than serious people attending the once proposed conference center. Residents could be proud of city projects that enhance the joy of their Morro Bay experience.
Tom Harrington has lived in San Luis Obispo County since 1974, most recently in wonderful Morro Bay. He has had many occupations from wilderness trail cook to executive vice president of a pioneering international biomass company. He is a member of the Rough Writers group in Cambria.