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3/14/2012 5:59:00 AM
Fairgrounds land offer placed on the back burners
Butch Meriwether/ CourtesyMohave County Economic Development Director Travis Lingenfelter gives a report to the Board of Supervisors Monday on the current state of affairs at the county fairgrounds.
Butch Meriwether/ Courtesy

Mohave County Economic Development Director Travis Lingenfelter gives a report to the Board of Supervisors Monday on the current state of affairs at the county fairgrounds.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors tabled an offer of 200 acres from a local businessman for a new fairgrounds until it could receive other offers Monday.

Dr. John Lingenfelter recently offered the county 200 acres of property north of Kingman on Grace Neal Parkway, about a mile west of the Kingman Airport. One of the requirements the county would have to meet if it accepted the donation would be to improve the parkway.

The Board tabled Lingenfelter's offer after county staff gave a status report on the current fairgrounds and suggested the county put out a public request to solicit other property donations.

The Board has been considering moving the fairgrounds since it started receiving complaints about noise from events held at the grounds from some Kingman residents last year.

The Board allowed a handful of residents to speak on the report complied by staff, but refused to allow residents to speak on Lingenfelter's offer after voting to table it until the county could receive other offers.

Chris Durkin - who said he represented several groups including motor sports group Precision Productions, the Hualapai 4-Wheelers and a master planning group for the fair association - explained that recent actions by the Kingman City Council and the Fair Association has limited what kind of events could be held at the fairgrounds. A city noise ordinance restricted what kind of car and truck events could be held at the grounds, how long they could be held and the level of noise they could generate, he said.

The size and shape of the facility also limited the kinds of events that could be held, Durkin said. The grand stands weren't big enough to hold the types of crowds necessary to draw some of the top events in the nation.

Later in the meeting, Fair Association Member Kathy Helton stated that she was a member of the master planning group at the fairgrounds and Durkin did not have the authority to speak on behalf of the group.

Brian Devincenzi, the president of Route 66 Wings and Wheels, asked the Board to take into account the fact that two motor sporting events that were held at the fairgrounds last year that drew in a lot of money would not be held again this year because of changes in the rules governing the use of the grounds.

City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting top-fuel cars at the fairgrounds because of the noise, he said. And the Fair Association has prohibited the group from moving the rodeo arena.

Resident Denise Bensusan encouraged the Board to take its time to consider all of the options before making a final decision on whether to move the fairgrounds. She didn't see a need to move the fairgrounds at this time.

Bensusan also objected to having Mohave County Economic Development Director Travis Lingenfelter be in charge of the project because he is related to Dr. Lingenfelter.

The Board asked staff to investigate the use and profit margins of the current fairgrounds, the economic impact it has on the area and how much it would cost to sell and move the grounds in January.

Travis Lingenfelter said it probably would still be able to bring in a profit, but he could get exact numbers to the Board after the meeting.

According to a survey the county ran, the fairgrounds pulled in around $15.5 million into the community last year through ticket sales, food, hotel rooms, restaurants, etc., he said. It also brought in around 276 direct and indirect jobs to the community.

The fairgrounds' income took a hit last year when the association ended horse racing at the grounds and the city prohibited top-fuel cars.

Travis Lingenfelter told the Board that the fairgrounds currently does turn a small profit, which is usually just enough to pay for upkeep of the grounds.

Board Chairman Buster Johnson asked if the grounds would still be profitable without the $25,000 the Board annually grants the association.

The county may be able to increase that income by holding additional events at the grounds such as music events, gem and mineral shows, food festivals, farmer's markets, etc., Travis Lingenfelter said.

"It's pretty much wide open," he said.

The County Assessor's Office valued the property at around $9,000 an acre, but Travis Lingenfelter warned the Board not to depend on that value. The real estate market is very fluid and that value could change at any time, he said.

Finally, the cost to build a new fairgrounds would depend on the site, he said.

District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell pointed out that the county moved the fairgrounds to its current location many years ago, and it wasn't until people moved in around it that the county started receiving complaints. If the county moved the grounds again, what would prevent that from happening again, Sockwell asked.

In order to prevent that, the county needs to look at the long-term needs of the fairgrounds and the community and plan accordingly, Travis Lingenfelter said.

The Board then unanimously approved having staff put out a request for additional land offers out to the public. Later in the meeting, it tabled the land offer from Dr. Lingenfelter until staff returned with other offers.

Liquid Chicken
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• Kingman Column: The county examines a gift horse
• Kingman's Lingenfelter offers land for new fairgrounds

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Devincenzi

@ nnp nnp

you say you have done some thing better?

Prove it......words are cheap !

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Article comment by: nnp nnp

@No Lives So Let's Blog

Your answer: "YES."

Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
Article comment by: Fair And Balanced

I was at the meeting too. Actually they said the 15.5 Million was the impact to the community as measured by an extensive survey sent out by a University of Arizona Cooperative Extension's agent and using the county economic development office's "economic impact" type program to arrive at an estimated figure.

I also attended a few recent Fair Association board meetings. They had an audit last month and the CPA who gave his report at the last meeting said the number one money maker was the fair, followed by rodeo I think, followed by motor sports. The actual budget of the fair association is a small fraction of that big impact number, and they use that budget largely on upkeep.

As to whether the money should be spent on building a whole new facility or repair the old... that is certainly an issue to be looked at. I think the problem is just HOW MUCH a new facility will cost. Right now upkeep is costing tens of thousands. The new facility will cost Millions. Not sure how many millions, but millions the county does not have. If promoters and private individuals are willing to subsidize that money for the county, I'm all for a new facility.

Right now though, the county had to cut social programs over the past few years because of budget shortfalls. I'm not sure where this building and infrastructure money would come from.

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Article comment by: business in Kingman

everybody that has an opion on this needs to show up to a meeting before they make an opion. all tell you what happened because I was there. first of all the fair assoc. claims it made 15.5 million dollars from the fair grounds, but the number one money maker for that 15.5 millon was MOTOR SPORT EVENTS!, 2nd was Rodeo events. The fair ground assoc. also claims they have spent over 100,000 in improvements just on electricity and also admitted to the council that the fair ground is a pile of junk, everything needs to fix or replaced, so why would you spent a whole bunch of cash to fix something that can't even hold the number 1 money maker for the fairgrounds. As far as npp npp if you don't like the local racing assoc., car clubs then you need to start your own or start to be involded with the ones that are here and make a difference or just be quiet, you are computer critic, step up and do something, besides typing out your concerns on a keyboard.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Lawson

What the county want is free property donations ? and turns down a good offer.

A change is long overdue in both our city and county government.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Lance Boyd

I thought the meeting was interesting but rushed. I was disappointed there was no meaningful public input on the offer of the land in question. I also wonder why Ron Walker always covers his mouth with his hand as he leans over to whisper in the ear of the county attorney. Makes one wonder what is he hiding. It has been said you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their eyes. Walker's eyes are frantic and seem to jerk erratically within his orbs. Walker is one scary and frightening man.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Jim Consolato

Yes Denise Bensusan is a resident but she is also a candidate for District #1 County Supervisor. She made a darn good point about about a possible conflict of interest since the Economic Development Director Travis Lingenfelter is the grandson of Dr. Lingenfelter. What I found amusing was the fact they Buster Johnson admonished Bensusan for jumping from topic #78 which was the report by Travis Ligenfeleter to topic #82 which was supposed to be a discussion on the land offer. Johnson was plain rude telling Bensusan she crossed the line. Yet mere moments later Supervisor Watson did the same thing and was politely corrected by County Manager Ron Walker. At that point, if you view the video, Watson stuttered and stammered trying to remove both his feet from his mouth. It was hilarious.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: dirt riders

I just want to know dr.Ligenfelter can we ride on your property this will take forever to get this fairgrounds . gordon is a great guy for bringing racing to kingman

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: No Lives So Let's Blog

@ Goldi Locks - You need to inform yourself... the reason the Yavapai DOWNS failed was because they based the whole venture on HORSE RACING, which was going away. Horse racing is dead and not coming back. Motorsports are the most popular type of event category these days and the category that brings in the most revenue, hotel beds, restaurant sales, sales taxes, etc. Not horse racing like the Yavapai model.

@ npp npp.... Define A LOT OF MONEY? Are you an engineer or a general contractor? Where are you getting your estimates? Or should I say uninformed guesstimates? In reality only one mile would need to be paved from Route 66. That's doable.

Also, what exactly do you have against the motorsports organizations? They have brought in monstor truck shows, almost a decade of Street Drags, Kart Races, and Sand Drags. What have you contributed to the area? What events have you brought to the area? Clearly you must have the answers and have done more than these two groups in order to critize how poorly they are doing, yes?

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: BOBO CLOWN

concerned citizen.. Your answer is HELL NO...

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: nnp nnp

1. The "parkway improvements" will cost A LOT OF MONEY

The money that the "parkway" would cost could be used to purchase land elsewhere, develop the current fairgrounds into a GREAT community center/fairgrounds property, etc.

2. PPI (Gordon Both's racing company) is scary. I met this guy (Chris Durkin's friend) and what a sham! Be careful when you hear anything coming drom this outfit!

3. Wings and Wheels...see above...only worse!

4. Yeah, Lingenfelter stuff/ offer is FISHY, to say the least here. Nice job in tabling the "offer" for now. Wow, the BOS have made a responsible decision to research something before throwing money at it!!! WHAT HAPPENED WITH THIS!?!

Regardless, racing and fair-type events bring a substantial amount of money and exposure to this little community and we should protect this at all costs. We can make is a great place if we stand together!

I really think that there has to be some land available...have you seen this place? There's vacant land everywhere :)

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Goldi Locks

Anyone who thinks they have something to gain, or lose, should take a look at what has happened to your neighbors in Yavapai County. Our fairgrounds was moved from its historic location, to an area north of Prescott Valley. The whole thing has gone bust. We have been bamboozled to the tune of millions of dollars, our County Fair was cancelled last year and it doesn't seem likely this year, either. We would have been better off not listening to those promoters who promised everything would be for the benefit of the community and the taxpayer. There are so many sticky fingers in the cookie jar, that I don't know if it will ever be sorted out.

All we have left is a vandelized and gutted facility, no county fair, no races, and millions in unpaid debt and bonds. DO NOT BE TRICKED LIKE WE WERE.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Positive Growth For Kingman Area

I understand that Kingman is a place that many older people move to to retire for 15 years before they eventually die... however, there are younger people and families here as well. Stop ruining all positive progress with your narrow-minded thinking and negative attitudes.

Having a family with three kids I wish there were more things for our Kingman youth to do, more family activities. We hear time and time and time again that there is nothing for families in Kingman to do. Idle hands to the devils work as they say.

Positive community growth is positive community growth. If it ends up being a good thing for our area and helps us to keep some of our young people from moving out of the area because there are no opportunities and nothing to do here, then who cares who is pushing it. We all need to be community advocates and get involved with bringing something positive forward. If you have nothing to contribute or offer but sour grapes and negative remarks then just GET OUT OF THE WAY and let those that can bring something positive to the table do so. The Havasu area already has SARA park, the lake, ASU, etc. The Bullhead City area already has the River Regatta, the casinos, the shopping at Target, etc. The Kingman area being the County Seat NEEDS this for its' area. The CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) people need to stop complaining and get involved with moving our Kingman forward!!

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Scott McCoy

re: "The County Assessor's Office valued the property at around $9,000 an acre"

I'll take it for $9k an acre as long as I can get it re-zoned for estate size lots with horse privileges and I would even donate a couple of acres across from the skate park to the BMX track people.

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: concerned citizen

Is there anybody in the Kingman political arena that 's not related to someone else doing business with the city or county???

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Article comment by: Better Location

Still think that the best location would be in Golden Valley or out I-40 near the prison. I-40 offers more exposure to people passing through and is more centrally located for the other two County communities and it will be a long, long time before it will be encroached by residential growth. After all, this is a County fairgronds not a Kingman fairgrounds. However, getting another offer like Lingenfelter's is a long shot. We'll see...

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