My Turn: Many problems with park entry off McCracken Lane

Many moons ago town officials, including Brenda Hauser and Bill Lee, invited the residents of Camp Verde on a walk-about of the proposed Regional Park. About 70 percent of the people who live off the one-way-in and one-way-out residential area accessed by McCracken Lane walked many acres of the proposed site. At that time questions were raised about the impact the purchase might have on the residents of McCracken Lane. We were told there would be very little impact because the entry and exit would be off the main highway and the only opening on McCracken would be an emergency exit in case of accidents. All main activities requiring night lighting were to be located at the east end of the property and we were assured that all nighttime events, baseball or whatever, would cease by 10 p.m. with any lights out at that hour.

The problems with the entry off McCracken Lane are multiple, including the cost of building a secure road bed, installing turning lanes able to handle long horse/sleeping trailers and the pull vehicles, and resurfacing the road, which at this time is a simple layer of asphalt over a basic dirt road. It could also entail buying or condemning adjoining property to expand the width of the road. That park entry would be a safety hazard from the hill approaching the entry from the north and the hill which blocks clear views from the east when entering State Route 260. We, the stakeholders, really need to see a firm bid of $7,000, which the consultants are throwing around, as that total cost. The new, enlarged Forest Service Center is also accessed from McCracken Lane and the facilities are under construction as we speak. There will be a large numbers of personnel and visitors entering and exiting via McCracken Lane. Additionally this is a main staging area for the hot-shot firefighters during fire season with vehicles and helicopters adding to traffic.

A problem already exists for those exiting Quarter Horse Lane. They wait long periods of time and /or take their chances to make left hand turns on to State Route 260 when traffic is heavy. How many more problems will be created when they must wait for people making left turns on to McCracken for various events staged at the park. This entry is called "temporary." How many "temporary" things have become "permanent" in this area? Eight months have passed since the purchase of this land, eight months that could have been used working with ADOT to begin to improve the easements off SR 260 to what is called Sewer Road. You do not need ADOT permission to turn right or left off an already established road. That road could provide immediate access for the ball fields while working with ADOT to establish turn lanes.

The consultants say ADOT has McCracken wired for stoplights. Calls to ADOT have resulted in the same answer - Nothing is planned there for the next five years.

And what is the plan to compensate the residents adjacent to this road for the destruction of their property values. How many people want the traffic, the noise, the dirt and dust and the inevitable trash that always exists where people gather in large groups in their front yards? Would anyone want to buy the property that abuts or is near that proposed entry?

Furthermore the consultants recommended "sweat equity" for some of the projects. How does it happen that the library committee was informed that all projects requiring public funds had to be put out for contractor bid? If this park work is funded by Heritage Grant how is it that the same rules don't apply?

Many McCracken residents did not attend the second gathering because they felt the so-called "public meeting" seemed to be a 'Dog and Pony" show to promote the agenda of the consultants.

Vivian Raines is a resident of Camp Verde.


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