CAMP VERDE – What originally was intended to be paid for with about $350,000 of Capital Improvements Projects money will only cost the Town of Camp Verde about $75,000, said Town Manager Russ Martin.
The extension of Homestead Parkway would connect the road to the Simonton Ranch Business Park to be built by Scott Simonton, as well as to a trail constructed in partnership with the US Forest Service, Arizona State Parks and Trails, and the Town of Camp Verde.
According to Ron Long, the Town’s Public Works director, construction of the road could go up for bid in the next 60 days.
“Our goal is to advertise for bids in February [or] March, with a tentative completion date of mid-to late-June,” Long said.
To pay for the roadwork, the Town of Camp Verde will use a $239,000 grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority and a $24,500 Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Grant, though the smaller grant could be used for a trailhead for the yet-to-be-named trail, according to Steve Ayers, the Town’s Economic Development director.
In 2014, Camp Verde’s town council approved the construction of the road as condition for Simonton’s donation of a 9.28-acre parcel and discounted sale of a 6-acre adjoining parcel – both to the Verde Valley Archaeology Center.
“Council took a risk,” Martin said. “But the risk was well worth it, taking this project from infancy to the cusp of completion, and securing a future with the Verde Valley Archaeology Center, with almost no financial contribution from the Town.”
“Our job is to finish the road,” Martin said.
The Archaeology Center is currently in the process of raising money to build a new center and museum on the site of the land formerly owned by Simonton, which would offer a “much larger opportunity, an educational opportunity for both residents and visitors to learn about the pre-history of the Verde Valley,” Archaeology Center Director Ken Zoll said following council’s approval of the extension to Homestead Parkway.
According to Troy O’Dell, the Town’s Public Works deputy director, the road extension’s “target completion is the end of the fiscal year,” meaning June 30.
In the grant application, Ayers wrote that the Homestead Parkway Extension Project would construct an 1,800-foot paved extension of Homestead Parkway with curb and gutter, plus a 1,600-foot, 12-inch waterline and 1,800 feet of 4-inch conduit for a future fiber optic line.
According to O’Dell, Simonton “had the existing sewer built,” and minor sewer improvements and a water line “have been done, fiber optic as well.”
The extension to Homestead Parkway, O’Dell said, will be “a good edition” to the community.
“If it brings more people, it’s a good thing,” O’Dell said.
On May 15, 2007, Arizona State Parks and Trails purchased about 40 acres of land off Homestead Parkway from Scott Simonton.
The property, two separate pieces of land, included a 15.61-acre parcel and a 24.51-acre parcel, one on each side of a roughly 40-acre parcel owned by the US Forest Service.
According to Ayers, the Town of Camp Verde will have conversation “pretty soon” with Arizona State Parks and Trails about what will become a “low-impact” trail.
“We’ve been working on this for a long time, a piece of property I don’t think too many people knew existed,” Ayers said.
According to Ayers, Arizona State Parks and Trails, and the US Forest Service have “flagged a preliminary route for the trail.”
The trail, a circular loop, is expected to have an entry point – and ending – at Homestead Parkway.
“Basically for hikers, but also some fishing and a wildlife viewing platform,” Ayers said. “The trail will be within the park property.”
Ayers said that once Homestead Parkway has been extended, he would like to see the Town of Camp Verde “be on the way to getting the trailhead built and a basic trail in there.”
“I would love to see the construction of the trail be a community project,” Ayers said.
“Our goal is to protect that land,” Ayers said. “It’s environmentally sensitive, a wildlife corridor.”
-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42