Airway underpass tops council's priority list

KINGMAN – Building a railroad underpass at Airway Avenue is a top priority for the newly seated Kingman City Council.

"We need to put some money in the current budget so it is not delayed," Councilman Jim Baker said during Thursday's budget meeting.

The push comes as a Kingman developer renewed his offer to help the city pay for a fourth Interstate 40 interchange for Kingman.

The interchange and completing Airway Avenue under the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway would improve access to east Kingman.

City Financial Director Coral Loyd said the underpass could be a line item with a funds source but could not be built until an actual revenue source is identified.

City Engineer Pete Johnson said the design is 95 percent complete and all rights-of-way have been purchased.

The estimated cost is $4.5 million, he said.

Kingman developer Bill Nugent urged the City Council to make the underpass an urgent priority.

Nugent is managing partner of Kingman Crossing LLC with the Hub Grounds family.

He will present a proposal for a residential development between I-40 and Airway Avenue east of the railroad to the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission in July.

The City Council on Monday approved a preliminary plan for a Campana Family LLC and mixed-use rezoning that extends north from Airway Avenue east of the railroad tracks and Castle Rock Road.

New plans for the Bella Vista expansion were approved in 2003 and would extend the development along Airway Avenue beyond the planned Grounds and Nugent subdivision.

"That quadrant of Kingman has been the stepchild for too long," Nugent told the council.

"It must have Airway Avenue access under the railroad to develop."

Nugent indicated that his group and the Campana Family LLC would contribute to the cost of the Airway extension.

"Campana is an excellent lawyer experienced in Scottsdale development," Nugent said.

"He will help us get the job done."

Several financing sources have been presented to the City Council by Loyd, including a bond issue that would have to be approved by voters.

"The residents of Kingman have always supported specific projects," Nugent said.

"But they would not give the city a blank check with a primary property tax.

Nugent also presented a site plan for the proposed Kingman Crossing I-40 interchange, which would be near the Airway Avenue underpass and improve access to areas north and south of I-40 east of Andy Devine Avenue and the railroad tracks.

"That would take traffic pressure off the interchanges at Andy and Stockton Hill," Nugent said.

"It would provide a site for major commercial expansion.

We are out of other options in Kingman."

Real estate agent Dave Hollingsworth explained to the City Council that the area around the interchange would support four big box-type retail stores, eight midsize stores and many smaller outlets.

"The Kingman area has 54,000 within the 15-mile shopping area without counting people coming off I-40," Hollingsworth said.

"Major retailers see us popping up on their radar now."

Nugent asked the City Council to consider working with his group to build the interchange 1.5 miles east of Andy Devine Avenue at an estimated cost of $5 million.

"I will front the engineering costs of nearly $350,000," Nugent said.

"This is the future for Kingman development and will increase the sales tax revenue to support a growing city."

The council will consider the Kingman Crossing interchange and the Airway financing options following adoption of the fiscal 2005 budget.