Brandy Watling

Brandy Watling, accompanied by two young members of the Round Valley Youth Football League, gives a presentation to the Springerville town council on the needs of youth football players and the importance of sponsorship.

SPRINGERVILLE — The good news for Springerville is that the town will likely be adding lots of new improvements around their park over the next year or two, including plans for new sidewalks, ramadas, field improvements and stands for sports seating. But Springerville residents won’t be seeing their own splash pad any time soon. The town council voted to remove the splash pad plans from the AZ State Parks and Recreation grant application.

Concerns were raised by members of the town council as to the loss of water a splash pad would cause. After some further investigation, the council found that a splash pad under normal operations would use 50-60 gallons per minute.

“That’s 30,000 gallons a day that comes from our wells,” Town Manager Joe Jarvis explained. The plans submitted for the splash pad did not include any water reclamation or recycling systems, so all the water used on the splash pad would go directly in the sewer system or to the nearby field. With drought looming over Arizona in recent years, this waste of resources was very concerning to the council.

“Water to citizens is much more important than water for a splash pad,” Mr. Jarvis said.

While a splash pad may be reconsidered in the future, the council agreed that any new proposals would have to include a system to treat and recirculate the water used to minimize loss.

The old airport hangar also fell under the axe at the town council meeting. The existence of an airport hangar was agreed to be a potential boon to the community, but the age and condition of the old building, which has been sitting on the ground since 2013, presented some immense costs that the town would need to shoulder.

The hangar was disassembled after an Federal Aviaition Adminstration inspection deemed it a runway obstruction.

The cost to put the old building up again was estimated at over $500,000.

Mr. Jarvis pointed out that the return on the investment to rebuild the old hangar would not be seen for 25 years. Faced with these figures, the council voted for a motion to either scrap or sell the old hangar to a private buyer. In the meantime, other options will be explored by the town, including possibly buying a new building in the future, or seeing if there are potential opportunities to work with developers interested in building at the airport.

The council, however, did support some of the measures, including the sponsorship of the Round Valley Youth Football program. The town had never sponsored the football program in the past, but after a presentation made by Brandy Watling, they agreed to donate $1,000 towards getting the kids new helmets and padding this year. There were some concerns made by council members as to whether the funding was available and would not be utilizing tourism taxes, but Mr. Jarvis assured them that there were some discretionary funds that could be used from the general fund in order to support the teams.

Heavy rains are often an issue for flooded streets, but the flooding issues on Coconino Street is something else entirely. The water flows in from the surrounding Apache Sitegreaves National Forest lands through town to Robertson Hollow and collects at the corner of Maricopa and Coconino streets. The runoff eventually makes its way to the Little Colorado River, but due to buildings and elevated roads, the water becomes trapped there. This flooding occurs in a regular basis and is a threat to area residences and businesses. This flooding got worse after the Wallow Fire.

The town council voted unanimously to apply for $22,500 in aid from the Apache County Flood Control District to prepare engineering documentation for flood mitigation plans. The total project to fix these issues may tally $665,000, with the town being responsible for covering $175,000. The town is looking at ways to reduce this cost further by using existing equipment and “in-kind services.” The flood mitigation plans would be worked on in stages rather than as a single decision.

“This project would span multiple fiscal years,” Mr. Jarvis explained.

Amber Shepard is an local journalist covering municipal governments and other Apache County topics.

Amber Shepard is an local journalist covering municipal governments and other Apache County topics.

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