KINGMAN - At the western entrance to the city's 168 acres of Kingman Crossing land, where pavement turns to dirt at the end of Airfield Avenue, a sign is posted that prohibits dumping and threatens prosecution for violators.
Not a hundred yards past the sign, in a channel north of the road, there are nearly 50 piles of dirt and rocks mixed with debris, pavement and all the soda and beer cans, broken glass and tossed out paper cups one would expect to come from the belly of a street sweeper.
Heading east another half-mile parallel to Interstate 40 is a similar sight, only of larger proportions. More than 100 piles stand three- to five-feet tall, many of them made up of construction materials - concrete, metal and plastic pipes, and slabs of what used to be a sidewalk. There is also lawn debris, including tree roots six-feet tall.
Other desert foliage litters the site as do yards of pavement fragments, later identified as the seal chipped off Kingman arterials before the streets were resurfaced.
After the Miner received a call from an area resident who's witnessed city vehicles dumping there, Blake Chapman, the city's superintendent of streets, said that these piles were put there by the city.
He said the they've been dumping construction materials, pavement from the recent chip-sealing of city roads, field dirt and street sweeper gatherings. The city currently has no other place for the materials, he said.
"It's mostly clean waste dirt, and we pile it out there just to get it out of everybody's way," he said. The city utilizes its land here at Kingman Crossing because "we're kind of limited in where we can dump stuff."
The materials aren't hazardous, Chapman said.
Public Works Director Jack Kramer said the city has had various sites for keeping this material. One past site is the area near where the new Mohave State Bank is being built on Hualapai Mountain Road across from the Gas-n-Grub on Railroad Avenue.
"There's no difference than any other city property where we put our street sweeper (materials)," he said. "Those piles are the spoil dirt."
While some piles are only dirt and rocks, Kramer said that others are a mixture of concrete slabs, construction waste and the rubbish picked up from city street sweepers.
"We're not going to pick through and recycle all that, we pick up some small stuff, but it's still fill."
"There's nothing wrong with it, there's nothing toxic ... there's nothing ... I can't think of anything that would be harmful in there," he said in a phone interview Friday.
This land is currently the center of a lot of attention in Kingman, as officials are discussing the profit from its possible sale and attempted rezone from parks and open space to commercial. Others in the community attest that the land is being utilized as the land use map designates: as a place to walk pets and ride ATVs.
The proposed Kingman Crossing interchange and commercial district that's planned at the site will be added to 205 privately-owned acres on the north side of I-40 and 640 acres of state-owned land south of the city's.
"We're going to have to find a new place when they sell Kingman Crossing," Kramer said. "There's a few places, but as you grow, those places fill up and you have to move." Kramer expects the site will have to be cleaned up by the buyer of the land, but given the 17-acre crater in the land, this could be used as fill, he said.
The city recently addressed issues with other dumping at the site. In April, the Miner directed two officers from the Kingman Police Department's Neighborhood Services unit to craters in the land where people had illegally disposed of old clothes, toys, kitchen utensils, animal carcasses and other trash.
Those scattered plots have since been cleaned up and another sign is currently planted where most of the illegal dumping had occurred.
Kramer said at the time that this kind of trash, including abandoned vehicles, peppered the site when the city took ownership.
"A small pile turns into a big pile real quick," he said in April. "We try hard to catch it as fast as we can ... It's hard to keep up."
As far as the city's disposal of various materials, Chapman said, "I don't know if there's anything illegal about it; it's not illegal dumping, it's city property. It's just fill."
The ordinance cited on the sign at the entrance details penalties for violating the dumping prohibition. Punishments include a maximum $2,500 fine and/or six months in prison. There are no specifications prohibiting the city from dumping on its own land.