Eyesore no more: Downtown building gets facelift
Three years after being raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency, what was once Smokin’ Body Jewelry has a new look
About three years after Smokin’ Body Jewelry in downtown Kingman was raided by multiple law enforcement agencies, a structure that some see as an eyesore received a makeover courtesy of the City of Kingman and the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce.
Smokin’ Body, which was located on Beale Street, was raided in 2016 in a joint investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Agency out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kingman Police Department Chief Bob DeVries explained several arrests were made in the international drug trafficking case, which involved illegal spice being smuggled from China. Two stores in New Mexico were raided as well.
Spice, synthetic cannabis or K2, are “human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquid to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices,” according to https://www.drugabuse.gov/.
“As a result, the properties directly involved were seized based upon the illegal proceeds that were involved in the purchase of the properties,” DeVries said.
The properties were forfeited to federal court, and were subsequently handed over to the U.S. Marshal’s Service for liquidation. DeVries explained the next step is for the marshal’s service to contract a realtor in Kingman and put the building up for sale. In the meantime, there was work to be done.
“We’ve had requests to paint the building from the day the arrests took place,” DeVries said. “Many consider it to be an eyesore in the downtown area and detrimental to what they’re trying to do downtown.”
That was confirmed by Becky Fawson, president and CEO of the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce. She said the building’s appearance made it seem as though it was located in an unsafe area.
“It didn’t fit in downtown Kingman. It didn’t fit our lifestyle and it didn’t fit the look we’re going for down here,” she said. “It was just out of place.”
The goal, Fawson said, is to create a welcoming space downtown for people to sit and enjoy the weather, shop locally and patronize the many businesses the area has to offer.
Having recently received permission from the marshal’s service to paint the building, the City’s senior management team and the chamber’s board of directors came together in the early hours of Wednesday, Aug. 28 to give it a facelift.
The work took about 2 1/2 hours with around a dozen people assisting and the help of City of Kingman Public Works, which provided supplies.
“We knocked it out pretty quick,” Fawson said. “It was a pretty quick and easy job to do.”
DeVries said the painting was completed before most of the businesses downtown opened for the day. However, there is a bit more work to be done. The area above the canopy was not painted due to safety concerns, but will be tackled in the near future.
Fawson noted the chamber would be interested in taking part in similar projects in the future should they present themselves.
“We’re just excited to see the growth and everything that’s happening downtown and are happy to be part of it,” Fawson said.