Our View: Where’s the state’s sense of urgency for Havasu Riviera?

February 26, 2019

There are a billion reasons why Havasu residents should be excited — and perhaps a bit impatient — to see the Havasu Riviera project take shape. So it’s a little puzzling that construction delays involving the Riviera are seemingly met with shoulder shrugs and indifference instead of public consternation and anxiety.

The 550-acre Riviera project, likely the biggest development since the reign of Robert McCulloch, will usher in a new era for Havasu, and Mayor Cal Sheehy is on the record saying the project, at full capacity, will have a $1 billion economic impact on Lake Havasu City.

There’s a lot to be excited about: The Riviera includes a 250-acre master planned community, a 300-room hotel, a 200-slip marina, a waterfront restaurant, and day use areas. It includes multi-use paths, botanical gardens, public parks, trails, a golf course, and an environmental learning center. Most importantly, it includes Havasu Riviera State Park, which is set to become Arizona’s newest state park in more than 20 years.

The park is at the center of the delays. Ambitious plans by Arizona State Parks & Trails to upgrade parks throughout the state came to a screeching halt when parks director Sue Black was fired by Gov. Doug Ducey over her agency’s failure to notify tribal communities about artifacts and historic sites found during construction at Lake Havasu State Park.

All parks development has come to a standstill as a new director, Bob Broscheid, takes over the agency and state parks officials conduct an audit of the various renovations.

While it’s clear the state was moving too quickly before, we’ve now reached the other extreme. There’s little evidence that there’s any sense of urgency on behalf of the state to get the Riviera park done.

Don’t misunderstand — we’re glad to see the state making sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed so that we’re not bulldozing over important historic and cultural resources. But the timing couldn’t be worse — the road to the Riviera is set to open soon, which means the park’s new boat ramps, already installed some time ago, could start getting used. (The road, by the way, has been plagued by delays of its own, and we’d like to see the city work on its own sense of urgency to get the road finished and open to the public.)

We urge city officials and residents to speak up, encouraging the state to work fast on its audits and reviews, and prioritize the Riviera state park project above all else when work finally resumes. It’s too important to this region’s economy to let slow-moving bureaucracy get in the way of a community’s progress.

— Today’s News-Herald

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