Cattail Cove State Park celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. From the park’s high-reaching slopes and rugged crevices, park managers are already looking to projects on the horizon that could enhance the park for decades to come.
Park managers and representatives from consulting firm Kimley-Horn met with nearly two dozen stakeholders Thursday evening at Havasu’s Water Safety Center, where they discussed conceptual designs for Cattail Cove renovations. There, the public offered comment and suggestions for new features for the park – including the status of property formerly known as Sandpoint Marina & RV Park.
Sandpoint was closed in early 2015 after the expiration of its owners’ 40-year lease. Now, stakeholders are eager to see how Cattail Cove State Park will assimilate and improve the property.
“This park isn’t a few hundred acres, but several thousand,” said Kimley-Horn representative Jeff Katzke at Thursday’s meeting. “There is a big picture, but the big emphasis tonight is about Phase One.”
Phase One of Cattail Cove’s redevelopment will include the installation of a new marina and restaurant facility where Sandpoint Marina once stood. The development also will include moving Cattail Cove’s ranger contact station more toward State Route 95, eliminating the inconvenience for visitors who may not be sure which road to take upon entering. The designs also necessitate the installation of a new, centralized utilities system to replace the Cove’s present, dwindling amenities.
Much of the road infrastructure at Cattail Cove will remain, according to Kimley-Horn representatives, and park redesigns will accommodate visitors’ utility needs while providing access to upper- and lower- Cattail Cove.
The planned renovations also include beach improvements, and the installment of new beachfront at the cove’s western end.
“The restaurant and marina are our two key features,” Katzke said. “A (Request for Proposal) has been put out for a restaurateur, with a possible 20-30-year lease. Right now, everything is at the conceptual development stage. The finer details will come in future phases.”
In those later development stages, according to State Parks and Trails Western Region Manager John Guthrie, cabins and connectivity between lower and upper Cattail Cove will be examined more closely.
“We had a lot of ideas about how we would make this a premiere destination in lower Lake Havasu,” Guthrie said. “The marina, the restaurant and the contact center are our three major concerns.”
According to Guthrie, Cattail Cove’s upper and lower portions will maintain launch ramps, the former of which will only be accessible to campers due to limited parking space.
The project will receive funding from the state of Arizona, from federal grants and from the concessionaire of Cattail Cove’s pending restaurant. While no agreement has yet been signed on the property, park managers are optimistic.
“Our visitors helped us to recognize and improve what could work, and what ideas we thought could work, but weren’t popular or feasible,” said Cattail Cove Assistant Manager Daniel Roddy.
“Every time we change something because of a good idea, it could change other parts of the design. It’s a ripple-effect that allows us to get the most out of public suggestions. We see what people support, and we want to make the park enjoyable.”
Roddy said park staff intends to get Cattail Cove’s renovations started as soon as possible. By spring, Roddy said, he hopes to have bigger updates for the Havasu community.
“We’ve been very good so far about getting RFPs out quickly and keeping the momentum going,” Roddy said. “For everyone I’ve talked to, this has been one of the most exciting projects any of us have ever been involved in. What we’re making today, we hope will last for our grandkids.
“We just had our 60th anniversary,” Roddy said. “We want to be as proud of Cattail Cove on its 100th anniversary.”
By BRANDON MESSICK Today’s News-Herald, August 11, 2017