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Parks board talks lighting up Bridgewater Channel

November 6, 2018

Lake Havasu City Parks and Recreation Advisory Board members have different ideas about what park projects should be prioritized in the future.

The advisory board discussed the possibility of adding three amenities to London Bridge Beach and Rotary Park during their Monday meeting. Board members discussed adding lighting along the channel, possibly creating a riverwalk.

They also briefly discussed whether the city should provide lockers and sunscreen dispensers at both parks. Board members did not vote to recommend any ideas to Lake Havasu City Council.

Mike Keane, Lake Havasu Parks and Recreation manager, said in a later interview that the topic will likely be discussed at a future board meeting. If board members vote to make recommendations to city council, the city would have to decide whether to approve the projects and allocate funding for them.

Mark Zieff, advisory board member, said lighting the channel would be great for tourism. Zieff said adding a riverwalk would drive up tourism in Havasu and would keep them out enjoying lakeside businesses after dark.

“We need to generate some kind of action down there because it generates revenue and revenue creates money for taxes,” he said.

Zieff said adding more lighting along the channel would also bring local residents to the tourist part of the city more often by providing better attractions for everyone. Lighting that reaches farther into the water would also make it safer for boats to go through the channel at night, he said.

“Without the bridge, without the channel, there’s no need to build a community with parks and schools and everything you guys have done,” Zieff said. “Let’s give something to McCulloch and keep his dream alive, keep building on his dream, put amusements down there, light the channel.”

Robert Smith, board member, agreed with Zieff that a riverwalk would bring more people to the channel, especially at night. He said he recently visited Oklahoma City and noticed people were out along the Bricktown Canal in downtown until midnight and nearby restaurants and businesses that stayed open late stayed busy late into the night.

If Havasu had a riverwalk, visitors would go home and recommend visiting the city to friends and family, which would draw more people to Havasu, Smith said.

“It’s a good attraction, it really is,” he said. “And the riverwalk in Oklahoma is avery popular place.”

Another board member, Chuck Vaughn, said the concept of turning the channel area into a riverwalk is excellent, but he believes the city should fund other projects first. Vaughn said the city should focus on building up SARA Park before considering other projects.

“Right now I think building up SARA Park and bringing in softball tournaments and soccer tournaments and pickleball tournaments, I don’t care, I think that brings in a lot of value too,” Vaughn said.

Keane said a needs assessment determined a sports complex at SARA Park would solve deficiencies in the city. That project has been designed and engineered and is waiting for the city to allocate funding.

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