Brooks Boulevard in Valle Vista gets nod as county highway

Carlos Cella, owner of Cella Winery, checks on his grape vines in Valle Vista. He was one of several speakers Tuesday asking Mohave County Board of Supervisors to establish a 2-mile section of Brooks Boulevard as a county highway.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

Carlos Cella, owner of Cella Winery, checks on his grape vines in Valle Vista. He was one of several speakers Tuesday asking Mohave County Board of Supervisors to establish a 2-mile section of Brooks Boulevard as a county highway.

KINGMAN – Carlos Cella showed a video of floodwaters rushing down Brooks Boulevard in the Valle Vista area following a July monsoon to Mohave County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, suggesting the road be renamed “Brooks Wash.”

The washed-out road cut off access to Cella Winery and neighboring Stetson Winery, and stranded about a dozen residents who couldn’t leave their homes for several days.

Cella said he was proud to bring the first winery to Valle Vista and give people a place to go, “but only if they can get to it.”

He was joined by Jo Stetson of Stetson Winery and several residents in asking the board to approve a 2-mile section of Brooks Boulevard from Painted Rock Drive to Jemez Road as a county highway designated for regular maintenance. It’s already maintained from Painted Rock to Monet Drive, which is about 1.75 miles.

The board voted 4-1, with Supervisor Buster Johnson opposed, to establish that section of Brooks as a county highway, drawing a round of applause from the Valle Vista crowd.

Johnson, who represents Lake Havasu City and has never been on Brooks Boulevard, said he has a problem with taxpayers paying for the road maintenance. It should come from the winery businesses, or the residents should form a special improvement district, he said.

“Where the roads are out there, you brought in a business and brought more traffic to the area. The rest of the taxpayers don’t owe you a road,” Johnson said.

It’s not just about the wineries, said James Mack, a 17-year Valle Vista resident who spent $1,000 of his own money to repair the road.

A lot of people have lived on Brooks Boulevard before Cella and Stetson came along, including a Vietnam War veteran who couldn’t get medical help when the road washed out, Mack told the board.

Steve Latoski, director of Public Works, said the transportation commission recommended that Brooks Boulevard be established as a county highway on the premise of economic development.

Stetson said she and her husband, Don, researched the soil at Valle Vista before buying property there and determined that northwest Arizona could be a good place to grow grapes for wine.

“We can have a good wine area like Temecula (California) or Walla-Walla, Washington,” she said. “Now we need help from the county. If we don’t get people down to the winery, it’s going to die. We don’t want to be short shrifting for an industry we can bring here.”

Johnson pulled two other road-related items from the consent agenda, and voted against both of them.

The board voted 4-1 to refer a petition to Public Works requesting that portions of Commerce Way, Columbus Way, Bonanza Way, Railroad Drive and Industrial Boulevard totaling 1.6 miles at Kingman Airport Industrial Park be accepted into Mohave County’s road system for regular maintenance.

Board Chairman Gary Watson noted that the Kingman Airport and Industrial Park employs about 1,800 people and contributes $7 million a year to the local economy. It’s a “step in the right direction” to help sell the remaining 168 acres at the industrial park, he added.

The board also voted 4-1 to refer a petition to the Mohave County Transportation Commission for review to designate a 1.4-mile section of Skipper Boulevard, Spear Boulevard and Senator Boulevard in the White Hills area as county highways. Again, Johnson said he’s opposed to adding more roads to the county highway system.