Rancho Santa Fe traffic interchange project has 'foot on the gas'
“There’s an old saying that alone we can do little, together we can do so much. And I would add to that, that together we can build Kingman’s bright future.”
So said Mayor Jen Miles at a press conference held Thursday, June 20 on the $20 million appropriation Kingman has received for the Rancho Santa Fe traffic interchange. Joining the mayor were state Rep. Regina Cobb (R-Kingman), Vice Mayor Travis Lingenfelter, managing member of Sunbelt Development and Realty Partners Bill Lenhart, and John Hansen, chairman of Kingman and Mohave Manufacturing Association.
The mayor also thanked City staff and other community partners for their efforts, specifically noting Rep. Cobb.
“We’re well on our way now, in large part thanks to Rep. Gina Cobb’s legislative leadership that resulted in a $20 million appropriation for the interchange,” Mile said, again thanking other partners, Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop and even Gov. Doug Ducey.
The mayor said Kingman would be “forever appreciative” for Cobb’s efforts in the legislature.
“I think it’s really important that we start investing in our infrastructure,” Cobb said. “I think that’s where our investment needs to be. Besides investing in businesses, we need to invest in our infrastructure.”
Kingman’s legislative representative thanked the governor for being receptive of additional infrastructure projects, like Rancho, being placed in the budget.
“In the beginning, we had maybe a month of going back and forth and small movements, and then when we decided we needed to make big movements, this was one of the big movements he made,” she said. “To make sure that he was helping Kingman out and we were on board. You know how much he campaigned in Kingman over the last year, so this was an investment I feel like he needed to make to show us that he was there for us.”
Cobb told the crowd she is excited for the future as she expects there to be opportunities for expansion in Kingman thanks to the community effort that brought the project to fruition.
“We’re going to show the rest of the state that we’re not this little community up here in the northwest,” she said. “We are going to be on I-11, and we are going to make a force out of Kingman and that area.”
The vice mayor presented plaques and shirts to those sitting on the stage thanking them for their work on the project, and handed yet another to Cobb for her to take to Ducey.
“The Arizona Legislature, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, it’s kind of like a Turkish bazaar. There’s a whole lot of activity and everybody’s selling something,” Lingenfelter said. “So for her to be able to successfully navigate that for us this year and work with the governor is phenomenal.”
He said the project would change not only Kingman, but all of northwestern Arizona.
Lingenfelter said that with the interchange, the potential release of Phase 2’s 1,800 acres at the industrial park, and Sunbelt’s planned light industrial park, “we could have about 4,500 acres for aviation and industrial businesses in Kingman and to create livable wage jobs you can raise a family on and that have health benefits. I don’t care what industry you’re in in Kingman, all boats are going to rise.”
Hansen spoke to the importance of the interchange for the industrial park. Kingman, he said, is in “an amazing natural confluence of transportation opportunity.”
The interchange will provide the park with a much-needed second entrance. Having only one entrance into the park is a deterrent for manufacturers considering locating in Kingman, Hansen said. Hansen noted that now that Kingman is addressing the issue, it has the opportunity to become a transportation hub.
Lenhart called the appropriation a “critical link” to inspiring private developers and the City to finalize the project.
“We believe that we can get the construction of the infrastructure broke in eight months or less, that’s our goal,” he said. “We have our foot on the gas, we have good momentum, we’re going to keep it up.”
He then spoke to Sunbelt’s project, 1,000 acres for mixed-use development. He said they would begin with a 110- to 140-acre industrial park with retail, office space or light distribution for sale or lease. Also planned is a light industrial park.
“But also, the big product is what this town’s really designed for,” he said. “That’s going to be the large 250,000-square-foot buildings, even 500,000-square-foot buildings, and that’s for the big manufacturers and logistics companies.”
Lenhart said developers out of state are interested in the Kingman market because of what it can offer by way of transport, location, and because of its climate and lesser costs associated with operating here.
The state’s appropriation provides a portion of the funding for the interchange. The City of Kingman is working with landowners on a public-private partnership that will address funding for the connector streets and utilities. Should Kingman fail to come up with a plan to raise the additional $26 million needed for the project by June 30, 2024, the appropriation will revert back to the state’s general fund.
However, none of the people or representatives on the stage intend to let that happen. As Lenhart noted, the foot is “on the gas.” City Manager Ron Foggin said the eyed public-private partnership would see Kingman come up with $13 million and the private sector the other $13 million.
The City is also in the beginning stages of looking at annexing areas surrounding the Rancho Santa Fe interchange and Kingman Crossing interchange.