Kingman City Council Meeting at capacity

Published by The Bee News

January 19, 2023

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The City of Kingman looks to be losing the most ambitious and potentially most successful capital investment project in decades due to lack of council member support. The project that was already approved in December of 2020 and budgeted by funding through the American Rescue Plan is teetering on the edge of cancellation. City council on Tuesday January 17th approved payment towards rendered services for the Pre-Construction Contract of a little over $100k. The total investment into the pre-planning phases is over $520k.

Only one member of the community in attendance spoke against the project citing the need for better road quality and maintenance and over 16 spoke in support for the need that Kingman has for this project to continue to fruition.

“I can remember many times that the city has shot itself in the foot”, “the city is completely dependent of sales tax revenues”, said Travis Lingenfelter, Mohave County Supervisor and Kingman resident, “Once in 2018, and just recently the citizens of Kingman voted down a very minuscule tax to maintain their streets” he continued. “Communities that invest in themselves see private capital investment”, “You’re seeing that with Hotel Brunswick, Beale Street Theater, Electric Vehicle Museum”, he concluded as he advocated for support of the downtown project.

Nancy Verville (15 year resident), spoke on behalf of the Kingman Chapter of the Arizona Spinal Cord Association and Stroke Support Group.”We express our continued support of the improvement of the downtown infrastructure continued beautification especially the safety of the downtown roads”, adding, “Our group of wheelchair users including others with any physical and visual challenges are counting on its completion”

Gary Waters Jr. (Local Kingman resident) and his five year old son greet tourists each week as they explore the town said, “They came for something unique, They come for sincerity” adding “What better investment is there than investing in the public spaces that we encounter these people” Mr. Waters Jr. mentioned the new renaissance he’s seen over the last last few years have made the biggest difference. “These investments have made a direct positive increase in tourism” remarking on the local businesses in downtown that have been opening and re-investing in the betterment of their shops.

Councilman Cameron Patt, explains his opposition to the project using an analogy, ” If the city were a vehicle, we shouldn’t be giving it a facelift at the expense of replacing the engine or putting on the tire we need to get to where we need to go”.

After over 15 local residents ranging from business owners, attorneys, County Supervisor, Directors of the Beale Street Theater, residents working in the medical industry, and other concerned residents, two city council members spoke in support of the project and their desire to ensure it continues. Jamie Stehly and Vice Mayor Cherish Sammeli both spoke at length for their love and dedication to the City of Kingman, and voiced the same messages that many residents voiced in supporting this project and seeing it as a means for the City to increase tourism revenue and private capital investments that will have long reaching and long term benefits for the city. As they concluded each of the other four councilmen spoke from their understanding of the project and all thought that the allocation of funding should be held back until further investigation. Keith Walker requested to look further into the pavement preservation program before before completely being behind the project. Councilman Savage said, ” I agree with Walker about piecing if possible. I’m behind it but not full bore.”

The city manager Ron Foggin said that that the Pavement Improvement and Preservation program should be completed and ready for review in the coming weeks to month before council will have a chance to vote on furthering the downtown streetscape.

If you are a local Kingman resident and would like to sign a petition to show support of this revitalization and infrastructure project along with the over 600 other residents that have already signed head over to https://www.change.org/p/save-the-downtown-infrastructure-design-project

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