Community View | Kingman needs to stay focused on downtown

In Sunday’s Miner I read with dismay that several members of the city council are having second thoughts concerning the use of American Rescue Funds for the continued development of downtown Kingman.

Many cities, from large ones such as New York and Chicago to small ones like Boulder City and Kingman, are often judged by visitors and residents with regards to a well-developed, beautiful and vibrant downtown. It is often a source of pride for the residents.

When I moved here in 1981, the downtown area was deteriorating, businesses were leaving, buildings were abandoned, and minor crime was increasing in the area. The downtown area had become an eyesore and an embarrassment.

Several years ago, this and previous city councils, the chamber of commerce, and local businessmen decided to turn this area around and make it a place where tourism can flourish. A place where Kingman residents can go for events, music, parades, festivals and an occasional night out, as well as a place to show off to family visitors when they come to town.

The attempt to divert funds away from the continued development is wrong. If, as mentioned, it was diverted to fixing roads, it would only be enough to repair a couple of roads and within 5 to 10 years those roads would once again need repair and the money will be gone with nothing to show for it.

As for the argument that it is unfair to businesses on Stockton Hill Road, I would like an accounting of the tens of millions of dollars spent over the past 40 years to develop and assist businesses in that area. Projects such as the widening of Stockton Hill Road, turning lanes, traffic lights, infrastructure, improved traffic flow patterns, all developed to improve customer access to their businesses.

For decades the financial and investment pendulum highly favored that area over downtown.

In addition, very few downtown businesses are in direct competition with those businesses on Stockton Hill, regarding the products and services offered.

I ask the city council and the residents of Kingman to continue to use the funds we already have from the American Rescue Plan and which are already committed by the previous city councils, to develop a downtown area that will create a legacy of pride and enjoyment for generations of Kingman residents and visitors alike and to not imprudently spend the funds on temporary band-aid projects that will soon be forgotten.

(William Skowronek is a resident of Kingman.)

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