City listens to ideas on growth

KINGMAN - Kingman Economic Development Director Jeff Weir spoke to a small crowd of people Wednesday night regarding the economic future of Kingman and asked for the direction citizens wanted it to go.

Starting last May, Weir said the city embarked on building a strategic plan to map out how Kingman wanted to grow economically over the next 20 to 25 years. To accomplish this, he said they established a technical advisory committee of members of the business community, along with citizens of Kingman, to determine not only what types of businesses were wanted, but also how the community would get there. The process of becoming what the community wanted and what would be good for the community was just as important as the plan, he said.

"We can wait for the next thing to happen, but I'm not sure that's what Kingman really wants," Weir said.

In order to accomplish their goals, Weir said they needed input from citizens of Kingman.

One of the few members of the community in attendance said there was still a need for medical services. She said that she was impressed with the direction the hospital was going, but with the aging population in Kingman, the elderly needed more options for medical care. Resident Mike Finnegan also said there needed to be more affordable long-term health care places for the elderly. One citizen remarked that there was a need for social activity, not just for the senior citizens but for the younger ones as well.

Another item addressed at the meeting was affordable housing. While the market looked pleasant to those retiring here or moving from more prosperous locations, Weir said that the people who live and work here struggle to afford to live here.

The community needs to understand that there is a need for apartments in Kingman, Weir said. Keeping young people from leaving Kingman also needed to be addressed, he said.

Councilman Tom Carter said that Kingman needed to look at how the resources were allocated to make sure that after the 20- to 25-year boom of seniors began to decline that Kingman hadn't overbuilt or over-allocated resources.

The need to attract more high-tech jobs, which generally pay better, was also mentioned.

Retail was another big item that people said they wanted. Robin Gordon said Kingman needed the sales tax revenue, and more businesses needed to capitalize on the shoppers in Kingman.

Weir said as they progress in building the plan, he would continually seek public input. For more information, contact Weir at 753-8327.