Property and business owners along Highway 95 in Old Bullhead City will have the opportunity to offer their take on visioning proposals for the neighborhood.
Council members met Tuesday in a special session to review a visioning report compiled from a series of public meetings by consultants Matrix Design Group.
Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady suggested staff send a copy of the completed report to all businesses in that section of Highway 95 and cross streets and solicit feedback from those business owners.
“Any additional input that we can see now and in the future would be great,” said Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter. “We can have as many workshops in the future as council would like, we can have as many discussions as council would like — if we’re going to move forward with improving Old Bullhead City we have to keep talking about it or it will never happen.”
Design Matrix Group’s stated goal for the public and council meetings, which were held in May, included creating a community-driven vision for the corridor that runs for less than a mile between First and Seventh Streets.
The group reported residents and council members envisioned Old Bullhead City as a downtown-like destination with beautified streets, safe spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists and gathering places including the river, businesses, parks and restaurants.
The report identified six goals: creating a destination district, capitalizing on nearby destinations, taking full advantage of ADOT and city investments and creating a plan for Highway 95 while considering zoning issues and underutilized assets.
Recommendations and key strategies identified included the creation of pocket parks, an expanded property enhancement program, as well as Highway 95 alignment and design alternatives.
Pocket parks, which can be created on a single vacant lot, are recommended at the west ends of Second, Third, and Fourth streets.
The report noted the city currently has a nascent property enhancement program and that a possible expanded program could include city/property owner licensing agreements to enhance private property frontages as well as the potential for the city to invest in vacant or tax-delinquent properties for the creation of pocket parks and parking lots.
The group also recommended a marketing evaluation for Old Bullhead City, which would provide a detailed and objective evaluation of the potential to attract and retain business to the area and a redevelopment area plan.
A redevelopment area plan acts as a guidebook for revitalization within a core community area. In Arizona, redevelopment areas are developed in accordance with Arizona statutes. The plan is a necessary step to accessing federal, state and local economic development tools, the group said.
In their report, the consultants offered three potential design alternatives for Highway 95, including enhancements to the area as it exists, a one-way couplet diverting traffic off the existing highway to two separate one-way streets and a third option of realignment of the existing state route to one two-way street.
“That’s one of the handicaps that we have here, this is not our road,” Cotter said. “We have to work directly with ADOT if we want to see some benefits in this area.”
Any of the envisioned plans would require millions of dollars to implement, Cotter told council members.
“Arizona Department of Transportation is a willing partner and actively working with us on a potential study,” Cotter said. “To put in this type of infrastructure, it’s not just painting, this is a whole infrastructure improvement — this would be very expensive.”
Improving Old Bullhead City will take many discussions and workshops for council and community members, Cotter said.
“Think about how many workshops and meetings we had for Section 12 (the new beaches at Community Park),” he said. “Because of that effort we’ve been able to generate something.”