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04 Feb

City may buy downtown land for park

Lake Havasu City Council could authorize the purchase of Springberg McAndrew Park in a special meeting Tuesday evening in a move toward Havasu’s downtown revitalization effort.

The city is considering the purchase after survey feedback received during a Saturday morning Vision 20/20 town hall meeting indicated “overwhelmingly clear” community support for a better downtown, Mayor and Vision 20/20 member Mark Nexsen said.

“There is a consensus that we need a better downtown,” Lucas Still, a planning and zoning commission member, owner of LS Appraisal and a Vision 20/20 team member, said during a presentation.

 A group of Vision 20/20 members determined one way to improve downtown was to create an inviting public gathering place for events and recreation. During planning, Springberg McAndrew Park was identified as a possible location. Initial ideas for the redevelopment of the space include an amphitheater and outdoor seating along with some surrounding high-density commercial development.

“It would be great to have a public investment that created a park, an amphitheater, a stage for events – on top of the events that are already happening downtown could be concentrated in this area,” Still said.

That exact investment has not yet been announced. Nexsen said the sale price of the property will remain undisclosed until all city council members are notified.

“The council is still not aware of the number, and it would be highly inappropriate for me to announce it before they’re informed,” he said. Nexsen did say the city and current property owners have reached an agreed-upon price that he thought was “good.”

Still said the project would require roughly $1.6 to $2 million of public money for improvements. Within 10 years after that investment.

“If that’s what is spent, over a 10-year period, we would expect a return of $75 to $110 million invested by the private sector,” Still said.

City Council will hold an executive session Tuesday evening to discuss the purchase of Springberg McAndrew Park and could then move into a special public meeting at 6 p.m. at the Police Department City Council Chambers for a vote.

 Other visions

The town hall meeting where the purchase was introduced invited members of Havasu’s Vision 20/20 team to revisit the group’s 18-month effort in the America’s Best Communities (ABC) contest that originally challenged communities to create and implement economic revitalization plans.

Other major projects the Vision 20/20 team heard include a 10,000 – 15,000 square foot environmental learning center at the Havasu Riviera Project that would one day house water research labs, classrooms, a botanical garden and interactive exhibits, according to City Manager and Vision 20/20 member Charlie Cassens.

Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director and Vision 20/20 member James Gray pitched a proposal for a $1.3 million facility that would provide shared office space for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Winners of the ABC contest will be announced in April and Havasu stands to win as much as $3 million for its proposed projects.

“I already know we’re America’s best community, but I can’t wait to finally be able to prove it,” Cassens said. “No offense to the (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau), but I can’t wait to replace ‘Play like you mean it’ with ‘America’s best community.’”

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