The merits of the Kingman Crossing Interstate 40 interchange are being debated once again, much like they were years ago before the recession and other factors shelved the project. Mike Bihuniak is using the Yogi Berra “deju vu all over again” phrase to note that the points of contention remain much the same as the community embraces an episodic rerun. Community division was apparent as Kingman Crossing discussion was generated by City Council consideration of a plan amendment for property that the city of Kingman owns on the south side of the Interstate. The amendment could lead to possible rezoning and sale of the property as a component of the interchange that is viewed as a potential economic catalyst for the community. Local CPA Tyler Angle told Council members during their February 3 meeting that the parcel is an asset that the city should put to its highest and best possible use. And Angle believes that commercial retail development along the interstate at the Crossing will benefit Kingman. Many others also believe that commercial enterprise spawned by the Crossing will increase sales tax revenue and provide much needed employment opportunities. “We need jobs here really bad. The layoffs at the mine further illustrate that,” Justin Chambers said. “By allowing land next to the freeway to be used for commercial purposes, it will help us create and sustain jobs here.” Others including Carol Decker-Noli counter that the retail sector doesn’t really provide high paying quality jobs. While many believe or hope that development at or near the crossing will bring enterprises such as a Kohls, an Applebees and a cinema complex, others are skeptical. “Don’t be hoodwinked by the headlines,” said Lisa Bruno, noting that Kingman is full of low-end business because of socio-economics. “There’s a reason why we keep getting dollar stores in this community. It’s because that is how our demographics pencil out.” Rad Green told Council members he’s concerned that developers will manipulate the community to build the interchange on the backs of the taxpayers. “Who would pay for an interchange? It wouldn’t be ADOT or a developer. It would be the taxpayer,” Green said. “More important issues should be paving our roads in residential areas that have none. We need to clean up downtown. Route 66, the Mother Road, that visitors from all over the world come to visit. Right now it’s a disgrace.” Decker-Noli and Harley Pettit believe City Manager John Dougherty and Mayor Richard Anderson should identify the developers that have reportedly expressed interest in the Kingman property and the Crossing project. “Mr. Pettit, there’s several developers that are asking at this point in time,” Anderson responded. “I do not think developers would like to have their names disclosed, just like if you sold your house, you may not like to have people know who are bidding on your house.” Pettit countered that the citizens can’t support plan amendments, rezoning, property sale and the Crossing unless the players and projects are known.
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