Thanks to recent voter approval of Proposition 401 in Chino Valley, the developer of the proposed Kampgrounds of America plans to begin construction in September and open the KOA in March 2012, The Daily Courier recently reported.
“We are actually in that scheduling process now,” said Charlie Arnold, representative for Jack Tuls Jr., the developer from Las Vegas who owns the site off Highway 89. “We are putting together our bid schedules and our construction schedules.”
Voters uphold by a wide margin a decision of the Town Council from July 2010 to rezone 17 acres to accommodate the KOA. The unofficial tally was 1,814 “yes” votes and 802 “no” votes.
KOA supporters contended the recreational vehicle park would boost the local economy by increasing sales tax revenues and creating new jobs.
However, opponents said the heavy-commercial zoning for 17 acres on the south side of East Road 3-1/2 North, about 400 feet east of Highway 89, was incompatible with nearby homes.
Voters also defeated council candidates James Conn and Charlie Marriott, who were plaintiffs in the lawsuit that qualified Proposition 401 for the ballot.
The lawsuit and referendum campaign set the campground construction project back several months. However, the rezoning ordinance that prompted the referendum went into effect when the Town Council canvassed the election results at a recent meeting, according to Town Clerk Jami Lewis.
Before construction can start for the 119 RV spaces and 32 cabins at the KOA, the developer must still go through a number of hoops.
Tuls must present documentation to the town engineer about the permit that the Arizona Department of Transportation requires for off-site improvements, Development Services Director Pat Clingman said.
“He has to present to Development Services the layout of the KOA,” she said. “It would include the sidewalks and the streets. It is a detailed site plan.”
Tuls also needs to enter into agreements for water and sewer service to the project site, Clingman said.
“He has to provide us with plans for putting the infrastructure on that parcel, and permits would need to be reviewed and issued prior to the beginning of any construction,” she continued.
Those are all in the works, according to Arnold. He said Tuls must go out to bid for off-site projects for water, sewer, and roadwork because they are public improvements.
Citing information from the engineering firm Tuls has hired, Arnold said on-site improvements will cost $3 million and off-site improvements will cost about half that amount.
The executive director of the Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) said she hopes Tuls will hire local contractors. YCCA has about 300 members.
“We are here to help the Town of Chino Valley with this terrific project,” Sandy Griffis said. “I feel that the owner of the KOA and Mr. Arnold as their representative will work diligently to use local contractors.”
Although Prescott claims the privilege of being the first Arizona territorial capital, this honor rightfully belongs to the little community of Chino Valley, 15 miles to the north on Highway 89.
In 1863 there was a mining camp in Chino Valley under the command of Lt. Amiel Whipple, and he established the capital at his fort. The most logical choice, Tucson—a much larger town with more amenities—was ruled out because of its large number of Southern sympathizers.
The territorial capital was moved to Prescott the following year.
Chino Valley has a mild climate and a gentle four seasons with over 300 days of sunshine and an average annual precipitation of 10.6 inches.
Chino Valley was named by Lt. Whipple after the Mexican word for the curly grama grass he found growing in the area.
When I walk in the desert the birds sing very beautifully
When I walk in the desert the trees wave their branches in the breeze
When I walk in the desert the tall saguaro wave their arms way up high
When I walk in the desert the animals stop to look at me as if they were saying
“Welcome to our home.”
—Jeanette Chico, in When It Rains