MOHAVE COUNTY – That Mohave County officials are not on the same page became clear during discussion of a staff-developed master plan proposed for ongoing operation of the Mohave County Fairgrounds at its longtime location in the city of Kingman. Mohave County supervisors, following lengthy discussion, rejected the plan in a 3-2 vote during the Monday, December 4 board meeting in Kingman.
Chairman Ron Gould and Supervisor Buster Johnson said the master plan, with a $22.5-million price tag for infrastructure investment, was out of bounds because they thought the board previously decided to merely apply band aids to the current property in Kingman while developing a new Fairgrounds elsewhere.
“I thought we were moving the Fairgrounds,” Johnson said. “$22-million? I don’t think we have it and won’t have it in the near future … I thought we were just going to maintain this until we decided on the location of a new one.”
“That was my recollection also that we were going to maintain the Fairgrounds,” echoed Gould.
Supervisor Jean Bishop said she thought the board previously committed to making improvements and keeping the Fairgrounds at its current Kingman campus. County Manager Sam Elters concurred.
“There was a healthy debate,” Elters recalled of the board’s previous discussion, decision and direction to staff. “The board made a decision to keep it here at this site and directed staff to come up with a master plan and that’s all we’re doing today.”
And Public Works Director Steve Latoski said staff is proud of its effort.
“We’re really excited about this. We think we have a concise master plan, yet very detailed,” Latoski said. Elters said public-private partnerships and grant funds would fortify necessary expenditures in a sort of a perform projects when funding is available approach.
“We do not see a lot of general fund money going into it,” Elters said.
Gould countered with skepticism.
“I just don’t see this being grant funded. The staff’s estimates of grants was less than 10%. I just don’t really see you getting grants to build this, which means it’s going to come from property taxes,” Gould said. “You’ve got three-fifths of the property taxes collected along the Colorado River. To me, a lot of this looks like amenities for Kingman.”
Supervisor Hildy Angius joined Gould and Johnson in voting down the master plan. What happens next is unclear, but Gould thinks relocation is the answer.
“We need to move the whole fairgrounds out of that area,” Gould said. “We need to sell that site to generate the money to purchase the new facility.”