Would the city consider Kentucky Fried Chicken's ingenious plan for corporate sponsorship of potholes? Imagine how many businesses could advertise on the re-"freshed" potholes on Florida Road. Maybe you talk to Colonel Sanders and see if he could bring the KFC asphalt-repair crews to Durango? Because my spouse works for the city, it probably would be best not to mention your source for this question. - Anonymous
Action Line is honored to have a highly placed anonymous government source. It's so Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein had "Deep Throat." Action Line has "Deep Fried."
So what's this KFC-pothole thing all about?
It's one of the best PR stunts in years. In late March, the company rolled out a bold plan to fix potholes for free - with a catch.
Big craters would be branded with a large stencil reading "Re-Freshed by KFC" in eye-catching but nonpermanent street chalk.
Why would a purveyor of poultry invest in infrastructure?
"In honor of its freshly delivered and prepared fried chicken on the bone, KFC becomes the first-ever corporate sponsor of 'fresh'ly repaired potholes in U.S. cities," reads the news release headline.
The Colonel and his professional road repair crew got started in their hometown of Louisville, Ky., by filling up potholes and re-freshing roads around the city.
KFC also issued an open
offer to mayors of cities nationwide, asking them to describe their city streets' state
"Four of these lucky cities, chosen at random, will receive KFC's road re-'fresh'ment, promising citizens a smooth drive that is fit for a Colonel," clucked the company's release.
At first, Durango Mayor Leigh Meigs was skeptical.
"I totally don't believe you," she said when informed of the restaurant's offer. "Are you serious?"
Would Action Line lie? Stretch the truth, maybe. But never outright fib.
It is estimated that U.S. roads are riddled with more than 350 million potholes nationwide - one for every man, woman and child in America. Approximately 473,587 of those potholes are in Durango.
But alas, KFC's generous offer has flown the coop.
Roadwork recipients were selected in early April, a spokeswoman informed a heartbroken Action Line when he called KFC's Kentucky headquarters to offer Durango as a deserving subject for the Colonel's largess.
That's too bad, considering this town is completely obsessed with chickens.
If KFC-branded potholes are not on the municipal menu, what about getting local businesses to adopt a crater?
"I suppose if organizations can sponsor trash collection along the side of the road, why not potholes?" Mayor Meigs laughed.
But will our roads start looking like the outfield fences at the fairgrounds?
The answer is not yet.
"It would be better not to have green or purple potholes with logos. They would be a distraction, and we have enough of those already," chuckled Jack Rogers, director of public works. "So we'll try to do without the Col. Sanders plan for now."
Rodgers said pothole repairs are on schedule and will accelerate now that the asphalt hot-mix plant is running. And, yes, Florida Road tops the to-do list.
Though this miserable stretch of pavement won't feature KFC's imprint, we still can play chicken with cars coming the other way - at least until the patch job begins.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
or mail them to Action Line,
The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you specify whether you want original recipe or extra crispy.