Marvin's Window: Developing a community vision

As I look out my new window, Kingman, the airport and Butler/North Kingman are clearly visible.

At night the lights of the expanding truck stop and RV park at Blake Ranch Road shine above the hills that block my view east on I-40.

I cannot see the historic downtown part of Kingman.

When the lights flicker at night, it looks like a single community.

Kingman has no discernable city limits.

The area does have political boundaries drawn on a map that give people different rights depending on where they live.

We need someone with vision who can see the shape of the Kingman we would like to have in 10 to 20 years.

We need someone or some group that can communicate that vision in a way that people can see.

A weekend trip to Phoenix reminded me what problems come to a community when an area grows by "planned communities." Housing developments nearly the size of Kingman push the population further and further out.

I believe many individuals within the Kingman city limits, and the surrounding region we share, have a vision for the next 10 to 20 years.

How do we develop a community vision?

We need a collective vision that citizens can support.

Somewhere out there is the leadership to bring the individual "visions" into a single focus.

A vision without communication is just a fantasy.

Communication and leadership make a vision a reality.

That point was illustrated to me in an exercise in communication used by a university colleague.

It is simple enough for you to give it a try.

The exercise begins with a few pieces from an ordinary tinker toy set.

Two people set back to back.

Each has an identical set of pieces.

One person gives directions to the other.

"Pick up one of the shortest sticks and place it in the center of the round piece," is a typical way the communication begins.

You might be surprised how many different ways a few tinker toy pieces can be described and how many different ways they can be put together.

Most end the "game" in total frustration after several minutes of fits and starts.

My dad and I gave it a try.

Dad was assigned the job of telling me how to put the pieces together.

Dad cheated.

He spoiled the whole exercise!

"We are going to make a wagon," were the first words out of his mouth!

With that clear vision of what we were going to make from the tinker toy pieces, I had no difficulty following his directions.

Without a clear vision of the "wagon," and someone to communicate that vision, Kingman could have those tinker toy pieces combined in weird patterns.

Something as simple as building streets ought to fit into a vision.

Otherwise, We get more Stockton Hill Roads with more cars and more congestion.

A street does not make a transportation network.

One underpass could do more to "mess up" access to the other side of the tracks than leaving things just as they are.

How does the whole issue of a railroad cutting Kingman in two fit into a vision of the future of Kingman?

If Lingenfelter's vision of the Villages at Long Mountain and the plans for Bella Vista become a reality in 10 to 20 years, what does Kingman become?

If historic downtown Kingman becomes a cultural and tourist Mecca with a destination hotel and conference center, are we better served as citizens of Kingman?

Is annexation a part of the vision of building a Kingman for the future? If it is, where is the planning and vision to get that accomplished?

On the other hand, if Kingman keeps essentially the same boundaries for 10 to 20 years, will the Mohave County Board of Supervisors provide the leadership for development surrounding Kingman?

The Bella Vista development plans are controlled by the city.

The county controls the Lingenfelter plans for the Villages of Long Mountain.

In fact, virtually everything north of Gordon Drive is controlled by Mohave County.

Kingman residents voted in 1952 to become the first incorporated city in Mohave County.

The Miner coverage in1952 reports a major reason was the need for the city to concentrate on services needed by city residents.

The county had and still has countywide focus.

Maybe you like Kingman just as it is.

I suspect there are residents of the city who are sure the city should not grow or has already grown too large.

People who once raced pick-ups on Northern Avenue when it was a dirt road have lost that opportunity.

Dad never told me what kind of wagon to build.

We were limited by the tinker toy pieces.

Who can paint a picture of the wagon Kingman ought to be in 2020?