Officials say Riviera project ready to move ahead again after delays
LAKE HAVASU CITY – Six months after development of Havasu Riviera State Park was declared to be “full steam ahead,” state officials announced development is back on track.
Arizona State Parks and Trails said Wednesday afternoon that it had signed an updated agreement intended to move the project forward.
Havasu Riviera is a collaboration between Lake Havasu City, Arizona State Parks and Trails and Komick Development.
The project will comprise 550 acres, and is estimated to be completed over the next decade. It will include a six-lane boat launch ramp, a 250-acre master planned community, a 300-room hotel, a 200-slip marina, a waterfront restaurant and day-use areas.
The next steps, according to Arizona State Parks, include updating the business plan, finalizing the master plan and working with stakeholders to initiate building in the next few months.
Mychal Gorden of Desert Land Group said that while the road to the water has been completed, they are now working on a timeline with State Parks to see when that might be open.
Thanks to the signed agreement, Desert Land Group will “push hard on moving the project forward and getting construction started.”
A big part of the delays, Gorden said, was the change of leadership and “direction” that Arizona State Parks has undergone within the last year. “They were forced to step back and reevaluate all of their projects before proceeding,” Gorden said.
Development of the project started with a 2016 groundbreaking. The boat ramp was installed in 2017, and the road leading to the Riviera was completed earlier this year. The project was delayed by the state when former State Parks Director Sue Black was fired by Gov. Doug Ducey, and was delayed again this year for reasons that remain unclear.
Compounding the delay were missing financial records, the identification of several native sites, accusations of ignored artifact and project shortcuts, officials said.
“Cleaning up the finances of the State Parks Department has been a job in itself,” said State Rep. Regina Cobb, R-Kingman.. According to Cobb, new State Parks Director Bob Broscheid has been trying to track down financial records and figure out funding for several projects.
“One of the delays has been figuring out if there’s even enough money to finish the Riviera project,” she said.
Cobb and Broscheid spoke in April about the project and its issues, and Cobb is waiting for a report back on what the numbers look like. “Several other projects have the same issues with delays because of this,” Cobb said.
The consent agreement signed today included a “financial mechanism,” according to Arizona State Parks. Gorden said that means the state and developer settled on bank financing to help pay for the park’s construction.
“The agreement allows for financing to be in place in order to facilitate the rest of the Riviera project,” he said.
Despite complaints about the delays from local officials, State Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, said nobody sought his help on the project. “There are always delays in this kind of work, especially in this heat. And it’s a big, complex project,” he said.
Arizona State Parks also has not provided information requested by the News-Herald on June 18.
The News-Herald filed a public records request seeking to review all written communications about Havasu Riviera between Arizona State Parks and its partners on the project.