Supervisors re-ratify agreement for Fort Mohave park

November 8, 2018

KINGMAN — The Mohave County Board of Supervisors on Monday re-ratified the agreement with a Mohave Valley park after a previous attempt resulted in a violation of Arizona open meeting laws.

The supervisors discussed the Arizona Attorney General’s Office’s Oct. 23 ruling on a violation of the open meeting law on a vote made by the board at a Dec. 18, 2017, meeting.

The 4-1 vote re-ratified an amended agreement between the county and the Mohave Valley/Fort Mohave Community Park committee, which stated that the committee would complete all improvements to the park, then present a lease of the park to the county for 25 years.

Deputy Mohave County Attorney Ryan Esplin explained that the agreement doesn’t obligate the county to agree to a lease with the park since there likely will be a different board.

The Attorney General’s Office ruled that the language on the regular agenda for the Dec. 18, 2017, meeting stated to continue the item and did not match the supervisors’ actual vote that the agreement would be amended.

Chip Sherrill said the community has been tremendously impacted by the park and the support by the Legacy Foundation, businesses, schools and individuals who contributed to the 39-acre facility. There are four baseball fields and two soccer fields.

“This is so great for the community and I can’t imagine anyone who would vote against it,” Sherrill said.

District 5 Sup. Lois Wakimoto said the park is valued at about $15 million and said there is no other park in District 5 for its residents. It also has the largest dog park in the county.

District 4 Sup. Jean Bishop had second thoughts about the use of water for the grass fields at the parks. Other parks in the county don’t have the grass, much less 18 acres of grass. She also suggested artificial turf.

Bishop also asked to postpone the issue to allow the new supervisor from District 5, Ron Gould, to participate. Bishop eventually voted to ratify the agreement.

County Manager Mike Hendrix said no county money goes to the maintenance and operations of the park.

District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City voted against ratifying the ruling by the Attorney General’s Office, arguing that there’s a liability issue with a trailer at the park. He showed several slides depicting several hazards near the trailer. He also said a lot of money would go to water the fields.

Sherrill questioned where Johnson got his slides since he never has been to the park. Sherrill added that there is always construction going on at the park.

In that 2015 agreement, the county contributed $250,000 for improving the park, which is off Laguna Road near River Valley High School. The park officially opened in December 2015.

Johnson filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office in January, arguing that the supervisors extended an expired agreement, which he claimed was done illegally. The discussion by the board on the item had nothing to do with the park agreement resulting in the violation of the open meeting law.

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