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Delays, cost hikes prompt review of Arizona parks projects

December 17, 2018

PHOENIX — Plans to expand and improve Arizona’s state parks are under review as key projects face delays and cost increases.

Those projects include ongoing renovations to several parks in the Lake Havasu region, including Cattail Cove and Buckskin Mountain state parks. The projects are drawing new scrutiny after the director of Arizona State Parks and Trails recently was ousted. Ted Vogt is filling in.

A report he submitted to the Legislature says all projects are being reviewed to determine whether they’re viable and to ensure permits and other clearances have been secured.

According to the report, designs for Cattail Cove are not complete and construction is delayed. The Cattail project was recently granted $5.3 million in state funds for redevelopment of camping sites and recreational vehicle stations. Most of those funds are in a holding account pending further design work and initial activity by contractors, according to the report.

The renovation of Buckskin Mountain State Park, near Parker, is the first major project at the park in 50 years. The park has grown in popularity over the last five decades, with 70,000 visitors in 2017 alone. According to the 2019 Arizona Executive Budget, the $7 million project includes 19 new cabins, 18 RV sites, a boat launch ramp and beach ramadas.

Vogt was appointed interim director after Gov. Doug Ducey fired Sue Black following numerous complaints, including ones by former staffers that potential archaeological sites at Lake Havasu State Park that were bulldozed to rush developments and improvements.

New rental cabins are costing more than expected. At least two other major park development projects are lagging.

A toilet replacement project at Cattail Cove State Park has been placed on hold because of increased cost.

Smaller projects at Alamo Lake and Lake Havasu state parks are progressing as planned, the report said.

Legislators plan to review parks projects Tuesday.

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