County to weigh Cas­tle Dome mu­seum by­pass

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - BY BLAKE HERZOG @BLAKEHERZOG

The Yuma County Board of Su­per­vi­sors will be asked to pass a res­o­lu­tion Mon­day to sup­port the build­ing of a by­pass road around the Cas­tle Dome Mine Mu­seum and Hull Mine in the Kofa Na­tional Wildlife Refuge, al­low­ing traf­fic headed to other parts of the refuge to drive around the at­trac­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to county reports, an ap­prox­i­mately one-mile road would be built to di­rect ve­hi­cles to a path north of Cas­tle Mine Road, meet­ing back up with the ex­ist­ing road just north of the mu­seum, which is a recre­ation of a min­ing town which once stood on the site, and Hull Mine.

Mine and mu­seum owner Allen Arm­strong said he is will­ing to pay for the im­prove­ments, based on a de­sign de­vel­oped by en­gi­neer Dave Pauletto of PG&E LLC, which avoids washes and uses his­tor­i­cally used routes to min­i­mize the ef­fect on the refuge.

Arm­strong has been in dis­cus­sions with U.S. Fish and Game of­fi­cials about how to de­ter traf­fic go­ing deeper into the refuge from cross­ing over his prop­erty, and ear­lier this year threat­ened to block ac­cess to roads go­ing to McPher­son Pass and other ar­eas of the refuge.

A traf­fic so­lu­tion is be­ing sought be­cause mu­seum owner Arm­strong is plan­ning to de­velop the ad­ja­cent Hull Mine into an­other point of in­ter­est, based on the dis­cov­ery of a wall of nat­u­rally flo­res­cent min­er­als ex­pected to at­tract ad­di­tional vis­i­tors to the area about 40 miles north­east of Yuma.

Charles Flynn, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Yuma Cross­ing Na­tional Her­itage Area, has been work­ing with both sides to find a so­lu­tion, even though Cas­tle Dome is far out­side his area. He will be pre­sent­ing the plan to the board.

Linda Mor­gan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Yuma Vis­i­tors Bureau, wrote a let­ter of sup­port for the by­pass road plan. “We be­lieve the so­lu­tion is re­spect­ful of the unique en­vi­ron­ment of the Kofa NWR, and seeks to min­i­mize the ef­fect of ad­di­tional traf­fic to the great­est de­gree pos­si­ble,” she said.

She be­lieves the open­ing of Hull Mine and its unique glow-in-the-dark min­er­als will “at­tract a whole new de­mo­graphic of rock­hounds, min­eral hunters and mine en­thu­si­asts to visit Yuma.”

The doc­u­ments don’t state whether the plan is sup­ported by Elaine John­son, project leader for the South­west Ari­zona Na­tional Wildlife Refuge Com­plex. The road would have to un­dergo en­vi­ron­men­tal re­views and searches for al­ter­na­tives be­fore be­ing built.

The reg­u­lar Board of Su­per­vi­sors meet­ing will be­gin 9 a.m. Mon­day in the Board of Su­per­vi­sors au­di­to­rium, 198 S. Main St., Yuma. Also on the agenda:

• A vote on whether to ap­prove six mod­i­fi­ca­tions to sub­di­vi­sion reg­u­la­tions re­quested by the de­vel­oper of For­tuna Palms, a com­mer­cial devel­op­ment pro­posed for the north­west cor­ner of For­tuna Road and 35th Street. The vari­ances in­clude build­ing in­te­rior roads to a width of 60 feet, which at­tor­ney Barry Olsen said would re­quire the elim­i­na­tion of at least one of eight planned lots.

The Plan­ning and Zon­ing Com­mis­sion voted 8-0 to rec­om­mend all six changes be ac­cepted at its meet­ing last month, but county staff is main­tain­ing its stance against four of the vari­ances, in­clud­ing the road widths.

At that meet­ing, Olsen said one com­pany had “com­mit­ted” to build­ing a ho­tel at the devel­op­ment, but could still back out of the deal if the start of con­struc­tion is de­layed.

• A re­quest for two mod­i­fi­ca­tions for the pro­posed 10 East res­i­den­tial sub­di­vi­sion, at the north­east cor­ner of Av­enue 10E and 34th Street. The com­mis­sion voted 5-3 to rec­om­mend de­nial of th­ese changes, fol­low­ing the staff’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

• Autho­riza­tion of the county IT de­part­ment to ac­cept the pro­posal from DLT So­lu­tions to pur­chase pro­fes­sional ser­vices for up to $322,000.

• Ap­proval of al­lo­ca­tion of $88,744 in con­tin­gency funds for video equip­ment at the Board of Su­per­vi­sors and De­part­ment of Devel­op­ment Ser­vices, to up­grade the sig­nal from the county’s Yuma77 chan­nel from ana­log to HD/Se­rial Digital In­ter­face.

• Flynn will give a pre­sen­ta­tion about the func­tions and strate­gic plan for the Yuma Cross­ing Na­tional Her­itage Area Corp.

• County ad­min­is­tra­tion will make a pre­sen­ta­tion for feed­back and pos­si­ble di­rec­tion on con­duct­ing a res­i­dent sur­vey dur­ing 2017-18.

• The board will read a procla­ma­tion of Sept. 25 as “Day of Re­mem­ber­ance for Homi­cide Vic­tims.

• Pre­sen­ta­tion of awards to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place win­ners for the county and court Cor­po­rate Cup Wa­ter Bot­tle Drive for Cross­roads Mis­sion.

• Work ses­sions about the county Su­pe­rior Court and Li­brary District will be held after the reg­u­lar ses­sion.

The meet­ing will be broad­cast on the county’s ca­ble chan­nel, Yuma77, and we­b­cast and avail­able for later view­ing at www. yu­ma­countyaz.gov.

Yuma Sun staff writer Blake Herzog can be reached at (928) 539-6856 or bher­zog@yu­masun.com.

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