The Kingman Crossing interchange is the best thing since sliced bread, according to the Kingman City Council, city manager and anyone else who owns a piece of property in that area.
This property is 1-1/2 miles east of the Interstate 40/Andy Devine interchange, and the city of Kingman owns 168 acres on the south side of I-40 at this location. According to the developer who sent me information on this project, former Mayor Monica Gates invited local developer Bill Nugent and real estate broker David Hollingsworth to a City Council meeting in one of her first months as mayor to discuss an opportunity for the City Council to sell its property to Nugent, as he already owned property north of I-40. He recently sold his property for $12 million.
The dream was to turn these properties into commercial so that they can bring in a regional mall (think Macy's, Mervyn's, Target, etc)! Understand, this would be in addition to an interchange at Rattlesnake Wash, a mere three miles east of Andy Devine.
We spoke with ADOT Kingman District Engineer Mike Kondelis, and he assured us that the Rattlesnake Wash project was on paper and going through the system - a done deal. This would be a perfect location for a regional mall, however, the big problem the city has with this idea is that the city doesn't own property at Rattlesnake Wash!
Kingman Crossing will impact the lives of everyone living in the east quadrant of the city, the fastest growing area within the city. Everyone east of 66 has two ways across the railroad tracks: Hualapai Mountain Road or the recently completed Airway underpass. We all know what kind of planning job the city did with that, don't we? Instead of the city buying up property to make a proper ingress/egress for traffic flowing from the south over to Airway, it allowed builders to buy up property off Airway, thus, Diamond Avenue was subdivided and houses were built!
Now, everyone driving to the underpass has to take Eastern to another residential street to Diamond, disrupting the lives of these poor people who bought homes on that little street. Shame on you, city of Kingman!
The city really, really wants to sell its 168 acres for (they think) big bucks. Nugent got $12 million for his 200 acres of relatively flat property. The 168 acres the city owns was previously used as a borrow pit, and it is estimated it will cost approximately $6 million to fill it. However, Mayor Les Byram recently stated that he was advised by an appraiser last year that the property may be worth $20-$25 million! Truth is, that doesn't pencil out.
Why would a property with severe "flaws" be worth more than a 200-acre parcel directly across I-40? The city is getting bad financial advice, and the latest information we have on the new owners of the 200 acres north of I-40 shows that they have several lawsuits against them from cities they joined with in building regional malls!
Why do we think that the City Council can do a better job of making good, sound planning decisions on a multi-million-dollar interchange than they can when building an underpass? The Council admits now that there "are problems" that they are trying to "fix," but it will all cost money, and the city doesn't have it!
I do not believe that the residents of Kingman are being fairly represented because it appears that special interest groups, i.e., the big developers in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California who are intent on turning Kingman into something that most of us don't want, are the ones being given the power!
If you follow Airway east under the underpass, then follow the signs to Santa Rosa Avenue (which is the main street of Celebrate Homes at Kingman Crossing subdivision), you will note there is a four-lane road already in place going to nowhere. That is the planned ingress/egress to I-40 if the city manager and City Council are successful!
If they are indeed successful in the sale of city property and Kingman Crossing is built, residents living north of I-40 and east of 66 will be contending with semi-trucks carrying freight going through their residential neighborhoods to the airport driving over Airway 24-7!
By the way, the real "Kingman Crossing" is already there - it is a small cattle crossing under I-40 when land on both sides of I-40 was grazing land and necessary to get the cattle from one side to the other. So, when city officials say "Kingman Crossing has been in the plan for years - that is true - but never was it planned as an interchange until Ms. Gates took office!
Remember - it is all about the money.