Guest Column by Judy Lienberger
I read with interest the proposed slogans listed in this newspaper. For some months, I have been saying to elected officials and others that Mesquite needs a vision and to decide what it wants to be when it grows up.
I believe Mesquite is at a crossroads in its life -- either it continues withering or takes that first step in moving forward. The Mesquite that I know has struggled in its history to survive and survive it did against odds greater than those facing it today. When some wanted to give up, others continued working to make it succeed. Today we need those forward thinking individuals who knew they could succeed in this spot in the desert.
After looking at the proposed slogans and not knowing the thinking behind each one, I have to say none of them spoke to me about Mesquite. For some time I have been trying to decide what it is about Mesquite that means Mesquite to me. Finally, late one night it came to me. Mesquite is an oasis, pure and simple. That is what ties everything together here, whether it is business, recreation, pace of life, scenery, family, etc. We are all living, working, and relaxing/playing in this oasis.
Therefore, my proposed slogan is Mesquite: the Desert Oasis. We have all the attributes that are usually associated with an oasis: palm trees swaying in the breeze, plenty of sunshine, desert, place to trade (shop) and to conduct business, site to exchange news, visit, rest/relax/play, a place to learn about new things, and an ability to replenish supplies/water. Don't those describe Mesquite?
We already have a good beginning as an oasis, so why not continue expanding on what we already have and are. Granted Desert Oasis is not jazzy, but think of all the possibilities that it gives us for promotions -- to golfers, photographers, retirees, businesses, families, sports, recreation, desert studies, and the list goes on and on.
It is a slogan that is all inclusive. It is this oasis that ties all of us together. We already have city parks, Oasis Boulevard, even the Grapevine Overpass with its logo (let's be positive about it -- the sun and mountains -- not
Pac Man, which I thought of the first time that I saw it), Casablanca (a desert sounding name), desert landscaping in places, and on and on.
All that we need to do is to tweak it and move this oasis forward.
This slogan does not limit new businesses. Paint or landscaping or architecture, and/or murals are all that are needed to continue the oasis theme. Now what type of new businesses might find a home here? Mesquite could become the Gateway to Gold Butte. Businesses could be guided tours -- jeep tours, maps, rentals -- ATV's, camping equipment, photography equipment, art supplies.
How about a bookstore with shelves about life in the desert: wildlife, people/survival, early pioneers/Mesquite history; the Old Spanish Trail, and information about the Virgin River and its habitat. Maybe a business would want to focus on tours along the Old Spanish Trail.
The community college could foster a desert studies program. A business might focus on bird watching/ducks/geese/swans along with specific places designated for this. Virgin Valley Water District is already embracing desert landscaping with its new area for people to see and learn about the different plants. Maybe a business would like to investigate if date palms could be grown here. If so, there is the marketing of dates. I would recommend date milkshakes. They are so delicious in the hot summer.
Steps that we can take to begin moving Mesquite forward include: enforce the weed ordinance; make decisions about signage; make RDA funds available for Downtown Corridor businesses; build a park on the vacant library land -- desert landscaping, solar lights, benches, walking paths, farmers' market area, gazebo; streamline business licensing/fees; sponsor a contest to compose a song about Mesquite; advertise events in the Las Vegas Review Journal and The Spectrum; write articles about Mesquite happenings for the newspapers; install town signs directing visitors to interesting sites: Historical Museum, the Rock House, etc. I have even wondered if the Silver Rider buses could have something about Mesquite on their sides. However and wherever we can advertise ourselves, the more people will know about Mesquite.
With the slogan Mesquite: Desert Oasis, there are endless possibilities open for the Mesquite of the future. It is not a slogan that is fleeting. Mesquite is the oasis in the Virgin Valley.