In my last column, I described an event that could be the biggest thing to hit Morgan Hill since the Swedish Crown Prince and Princess visited in 1926.
The Amgen Tour of California is coming and will bring the world right into our living room. This world class event will be in our town, not 10 miles south or 28 miles north like the last two world class events, both of which pretty much passed us by.
Again, this is a big deal for us.
Are you one of those people that wonder how this event came to be in Morgan Hill? An event that I’ve heard could cost over $100,000 just to be provided the privilege of hosting—in addition to the direct costs associated with a world class event (just the part we’re paying for)? An event that normally gobbles reams of paper just to fill out the qualification forms to participate?
We are the beneficiaries of someone else’s misfortune. Another community pulled out of the event, and Amgen Tour organizers gave the folks in San Jose a call, who in turn gave our folks in Morgan Hill a call.
Yes, we have a relationship with San Jose that is strong enough for that call to take place. Bet you had no idea that could have happened.
So how did that happen? My theory… In April 2013 the community of Morgan Hill declared that we wanted tourism to grow as a key industry. The city council heard that proclamation, and an environment was created that fostered reaching out to our neighbors to work together in the name of tourism.
A couple years back, the very people that gave us that recent call were invited to Morgan Hill to see what we see every day—a beautiful community that could actually be an asset to San Jose.
An asset to San Jose? Yes, an asset in the sense that one of the lures to potential visitors of San Jose could be our “charming” community just minutes away from the big city hubbub. When you’re done at the Tech Museum, head over to Morgan Hill for lunch and hiking, for example.
A stage was set years ago where this event is now about to play out. This event will in turn hopefully set in motion a recognition of Morgan Hill as a great place to visit, build businesses and live. These are called investments in the future.
There is a lot of work to do before we can show off Morgan Hill to the world, and at the same time feel comfortable our community will enjoy this event. We have to get everyone who lives in, works in, or regularly passes through the downtown informed about the event and work to minimize the impacts to them. That work will start right away.
As short as the event may be, one day there will be some inconveniences that we need to minimize for the entire community. Careful planning will help with that.
We need to plan collaboratively to make the most of the large number of visitors and event coverage. We may only get one chance to shine, and we’re going to make the most of it.
Let the work begin.
John McKay is president of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association, a city planning commissioner and co-founder of the Morgan Hill Tourism Alliance. He can be reached at [email protected].