Help clean up Route 66 Wayside Rest March 23

March 16, 2019

NEEDLES — Two subjects dominated the Needles Downtown Business Alliance meeting of March 7: a workshop meeting for attracting grant funds to create or improve local parks on March 13 and a State of the City address on March 14.

NDBA President Jan Jernigan reported the organization is encouraging as many residents as possible to attend one or both: the parks meeting at 5 p.m. in council chambers; the State of the City address at 5 p.m. in the Giggling Cactus Restaurant.

The NDBA is dedicated to the preservation and beautification of historic downtown Needles and parks play a big role in that, with several park projects pursued and park maintenance undertaken by the alliance. Community members are encouraged to join alliance volunteers for a cleanup project at the Route 66 Needles Wayside Rest Stop beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 23. While the NDBA is encouraging pursuit of grant funds for parks, they won’t be competing; at least not for that park. Jernigan reported the group doesn’t really want any more development, such as restrooms, at the Wayside Rest Stop. Intentions, at this point, are to keep the historical perspective of the pretty area that welcomed travelers on the Mother Road. “That what it was,” she said. “It was just a desert park. It was never anything more than that. We want to leave it how it was originally.”

Another NDBA park project, Jernigan reported, is the Rotary Roadside Rest, better known as the ‘Train Park,’ along Front Street between the El Garces and the North K Street underpass. Some decorative rock has been placed at the location, including a large sandstone sign bearing an American flag, the Route 66 logo and the legend, “In Honor of All Veterans.” The site is also identified as a part of Native Route 66 by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe.

Further work is on hold, for the moment, pending completion of railway upgrades in the area. More rock will be spread around the train cars after that’s done. Jernigan reported that local business leader Joe Jones is going to donate a flag pole for the park.

Maintenance continues as well with the Route 66 monument at the G and Front streets corner of Santa Fe Park. Funded in large part by Needles’ winnings in a contest run by the Reader’s Digest, the monument created by Lucas Phillips’ Fusion Concepts combines artistic interpretation of surrounding mountains, the Colorado River, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and Route 66 with the lush green of Santa Fe Park and the massive El Garces in the background. The feature is popular with residents and visitors as a spot for photographs. Fusion Concepts’ Chris Rockwood is undertaking work to power wash the facility, repaint the river and repair the lighting on the monument, Jernigan reported.