County to weigh Castle Dome museum bypass
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.