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home : opinion : columns May 24, 2016

3/11/2012 6:01:00 AM
Kingman Column: The county examines a gift horse

Rich Thurlow

Is pointing out that a promise of 200 acres for a county fairgrounds comes with a requirement for a multi-million paving job the modern-day equivalent of looking a gift horse in the mouth?

Maybe that's the wrong analogy, but it seemed like the obvious lead to the news that Dr. John Lingenfelter would, indeed, hand over 200 acres west of Route 66 opposite the airport for a fairgrounds. Without the other half of the quid pro quo, we're talking about a hurry-up photo opportunity: Quick, grab Lingenfelter and the deed for the land, head for the highway and let's all smile for the camera before the good doctor has a change of heart.

But life isn't that simple. It would be swell if the county could take the land and develop it over time so that Wanda's gold medal apple pie has a suitable place to be displayed, where rodeos and gymkhanas could be held a couple dozen times a year, where Hualapai Downs could be resurrected at least for a weekend or two.

A place for drag races, a place where you can move the dirt and have those crazy races where motorbikes spend half their time in midair, a place where the motorheads can get together and do that asphalt-destroying thing with their tires. I forget what they call that, but I do recall having a late-night beer on the back porch last summer and hearing it, and I thought for sure that monster from "Cloverfield" had somehow survived and made its way to Mohave County.

Lingenfelter's offer makes all this possible, but it also requires the county to bet on the future when, for many, the future is way too uncertain for what Lingenfelter wants in return.

The Grace Neal Parkway calls for four lanes of roadway north of Mohave Community College between Stockton Hill Road and Route 66 at the airport. At some distant point in the future, when the Kingman area population reaches six figures, the parkway will be an invaluable asset.

Paving it now, though, would be crazy, especially since the most recent estimate came in at $38 million. Dr. Lingenfelter knows this. But he has made an offer for a new county fairgrounds that is almost perfect. The only drawback is that it's actually a longer drive for Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City residents as compared to the current location.

The county supervisors will have to handle this matter with a fair amount of finesse. It's an extremely generous offer by the good doctor, but the money required to bring it all together is beyond the county's reach right now. Both sides are going to have to be willing to look far down the road for this to work.


You've got to feel for the folks at Mt. Tipton, where residents are faced with the likelihood grades 7-12 (or perhaps just 9-12) will no longer be offered by the school district. You folks had a good thing going, and it's too bad the money's not there so it can continue.

Now these older students will have a choice of going to school in Kingman or doing something else.

And maybe doing something else is what the community as a whole needs to take a look at. Maybe a charter, such as the Kingman Academy schools, is the answer. Certainly there are education options available with the Internet.

Regardless of what happens, it's good to have more than one choice.


Tuesday is election day. Some of you will forget. It's March; it happens.

City Councilman Richard Anderson has advised me that he is pushing for traditional election dates.

Here's hoping he makes it back alive.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Article comment by: dumb people

only a question why does this group our board of STUPIDVISERS always stop growth here in town and always send our ideas to LHC or BHC? THIS GROUP NEEDS TO GO FOR THE GOOD OF THE PEOPLE

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Kenneth Conaway

I think its a good Idea, if done properly. The current fairgrounds are small and in a bad location to expand. If done properly the expansion would be good for Kingman. Building it out off Hwy 40 so its closer for the people of Bull Head and Havasu is OK but what about the people to the east of us? The weather is better here, at least 10 degrees cooler in the summer, how many will go to the fair when its 125? A well planned fair grounds with events like a swap meat, farmers market, dog shows, live stock shows, car shows garden shows, etc, year around could bring in the money and pay for itself. It also could provide emergency shelter for the county in case of emergency's. Remember the old movie saying from field of dreams,"BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME". We are the County Seat, lets act like it.

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2012
Article comment by: Thai Mi Shoe

I remember sitting in on a public meeting a few years ago when Mr. Scott Dunton suggested that he owned quite a bit of property out by Oatman Road and that he would conside giving land away to a new business under certain conditions.

At least that was the gest of what I think he said.

So maybe a ne Fairgrounds would fit into that offer?

Never hurts to keep your options open.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Just how stupid do they think we are?


Just how STUPID do you fellows think we are?

Collution, CORRUPTION and the Good ol Boys Club still on track here in Mohave County. It is so blatant that you have to laugh.

Maybe this is what our fearless leaders consider full disclosure.

In other words, they did tell you right before they spent MILLIONS of your tax dollars (by paving the roads in and around their buddies subdivision) you just did no't like it . BUT, we DID tell you!

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Sampson .

Isn't this the land that used to be the old WW II target range? Its full of old lead bullets. I think the Army Corp of Engineers is supposed to come and evaluate all that area and determine if it needs remediation. I forget the exact details, but the Miner ran an article on it last year sometime.

200 acres of potentially contaminated land. What a great deal! If a road is paved through there development in a questionable are would accelerate. Bad idea till we know more about the suitability of this land.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Young Person Concerned About the Future

As a person in their mid-30s with a family, I applaud the doctor and his vision. Lake Havasu City has SARA Park, which used to be a Mohave County Park. I believe that Kingman has some extremely smart people capable of joining together for a great common purpose to create a regional quality of life area that may help to strengthen Kingman.

As with all issues in life - even the seemingly scary big issues - if we break them into managable parts, then nothing is impossible to accomplish. Some folks in Havasu created the Havasu Foundation for Higher Education and raised $2 million worth of in-kind and monetary donations to bring an Arizona State University Campus. I'm sure there were a lot of old people with inflexible and hardened hearts that said it couldn't be done.

What about creating a Fairgrounds Foundation? Its possible, and a good idea.

Look at the River Regatta in Bulllhead... it was a gamble and has grown into something extraordinary for Bullhead.

Smart people know that to make progress you have to do the research, and then make some calculated risks. For too long, the Kingman area has sold itself short. The defeatist attitude that seems prevalent in the Miner and by the minority of CAVE people (citizens against virtually everything) has to stop.

As far as the road, all things can be negotiated. The article I read said the property offered for donation was one mile from Arizona Route 66 - so initially only one mile of roadway would need to be paved. To build one mile on roadway, it costs between $300-400k. It's possible. To build the motorsports component, get some private investors together, do the pro forma statements, and borrow money to build the improvements which will be repaid by the events that will take place there. The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) has already expressed an interest to sanction a track in Kingman. It is possible.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Dee Skusted

@ No mind reader:

BOS, City Councils, School Board, Law Enforcement etc. are all part of Mohave County Government. I am fine with you thinking I have no brain but your going to loose any discussion defending any of these entities. Sorry you don't appreciate a satirical and sarcastic look at the reality in Mohave County. By the way how do you know for sure what is on the mind of Ron Walker? Just sit back and watch this County Government self destruct. Just watch.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: No mind reader

So you "think" you can read Ron Walker's mind. Too bad that you can't. Seems like you don't have one of your own. You evidently don't even know the difference between the BOS and the School Board.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Com promise

How about paving only two lanes for now, with a promise to widen to four when traffic studies suggest it's called for? Agree to do it in stages as county funds make it possible. Maybe plan it so that its done in phases, tied to milestones in fairground income. I'm sure some creative minds can make this opportunity work for all parties involved...

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

I own some land in Mohave county, bought it dirt cheap, seen the value multiply several times over and then drop again to about twice what I paid for it now, I guess if I had 200 acres which no one wished to buy and could get a mulit-million dollar paving contract or benefit some how in a kick back from someone it might be a wise business move, unethical maybe, potentially illegal depending on how it was done but all that being said, don't imagine my two cents worth of opinion is worth much!

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: For a Better kingman

It's not that generous an offer by the good doctor. He owns all the property by the proposed fairgrounds. If the county paves that road, all the property surrounding the fairgrounds goes up in value. He will make more money off the increase in value than he will lose by donating the land.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: The Watcher

Dee Skusted – thanks for making my day and also causing me to chuckle. The first question should be is why the BOS are attempting to shove a Dr. John Lingenfelter-Mohave County deal down our throats when times are tuff and money is short. Granted, someone giving the county 200 acres is a nice gesture, but there are stipulations like the county required to build a $38 million road seems a little stiff. There are other areas available to the county to purchase that would be more convenient location for Lake Havasu, Mohave Valley and Bullhead City along the I-40 corridor. Yes, they would probably have to have a few million for the property, but it would be far less than the $38 million road. Please stop this maniac behavior of the BOS and County Manager spending our county’s revenues prior to the new five-member BOS being installed.

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012
Article comment by: Dee Skusted

Here are the answers : After reading County Manager Ron Walker's mind. Turn the current fairgrounds into a county operated detention camp and hold every person pulled over for a traffic citation, every owner of a loose dog, every person found guilty of a zoning violation there until the BOS can clean up the books making every violation of the law a felony. Then one by one transfer the population to the new jail and the new auxiliary jail they create out of the Mt. Tipton school facility. Those stranded students will be offered jobs as detention officers and forget about finishing their education. Take all prisoners and put them on chain gangs building the Grace Neal Parkway four lane highway out of Tufa stone. Re-appoint Walker and give him a 250 tho bonus. Good thinking Walker! Face it, its the mentality in Mohave County Government.

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