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08 Nov

Our View: Havasu Riviera marks solid progress toward reality

Nov 8, 2016

Many names and plans have been attached to the parcel of land known as the Havasu 280 through the years. A ceremony tomorrow puts shovel to dirt and pushes forward a project that can and should become one of the city’s jewels.

Now known as Havasu Riviera, the project is big and broad and worthy of the spectacular site adjoining and overlooking Lake Havasu. It includes a new state park, a resort and residential project and the city-run Havasu 280 recreation and education site.

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at 10 a.m. at the Sweetwater Avenue maintenance yard near the property. Armed with City Council approval, the first step is a road connecting property parcels and running to the shore in the southeast part of the city.

 The city is paying for the road in a cost-sharing agreement with Komick Enterprises and Desert Land Group, developers of the 250-acre master planned community. This private component includes new boat launch ramps to be owned by the state and is the catalyst for the entire development. The public-private partnership that includes the new Contact Point State Park needed to be in place before city government could justify spending money on any of it, including the road. When completed – and it will be years before it’s all in place — the site will offer sorely needed mainland boat launch facilities and a marina away from the congestion in the central part of town. There is much more envisioned, including many potential uses for the city’s 280-acres.

Of the proposed projects, the ones that appear most likely to happen sooner rather than later include a botanical garden and day-use facilities. Paper plans include a municipal golf course that appears more as a placeholder project than a likely near-term investment.

The value of this project has been recognized for years, but some of the credit for getting it moving forward should go to the Havasu Vison 20/20 effort which seeks to revitalize the city’s economy and quality of life through community consensus. It doesn’t hurt that the Vision 20/20 effort is a finalist for a prize of more than $3 million in a national competition sponsored by Frontier Communications.

 Visions for great projects and programs too easily become dusty plans on a shelf. The work behind an ambitious public-private partnership is daunting. Turning the first shovel is a strong sign that the work is paying off and the vision will be realized.