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Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites

Yuma, Arizona
County of Yuma.
Colorado River between Madison Ave. & Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge
National Register Number: 66000197
Resource type: District.
Property type: Transportation - road - related. The threat level was Watch in
Congressional District: AZ-7 Certified Local Government: YES
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Current use/information: State Parks: www.pr.state.az.us/text/yumaxingstory.html.

Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 13, 1966):
First used by Native Americans, this natural crossing served as a significant transportation gateway on the Colorado River during the Spanish Colonial and U.S. westward expansion periods. The surviving buildings of the Yuma Quartermaster Depot and Arizona Territorial Prison are the key features on the Arizona side of the border; across the river, in California, stand the surviving buildings of Fort Yuma, an Army outpost that guarded the crossing from 1850 to 1885.

In recent years the Landmark has progressed from Threatened to Watch status, as the city of Yuma, historic preservation interests, and a private developer have collaborated to implement the Comprehensive Management Plan for the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. In 2003, the City of Yuma adopted “Historic Design Guidelines for the Yuma Crossing” and enacted an historic overlay, which empowered the local Historic District Review Commission (CLG) to review and approve any actions within the landmark. Funding was secured for Gateway Park, a riverfront park in the landmark. Design proceeded which involved 7 different state and federal agencies, including the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office.

In November 2004, the City of Yuma approved a development agreement with a private developer, which will result in $80 million in private investment in Yuma’s downtown riverfront, including within the landmark. The developer is required to develop plans in keeping with the Yuma Crossing Historic Design Guidelines. In 2005, the developer, City of Yuma, and historic preservation interests and agencies collaborated on a Pivot Point Interpretive Overlook Plan. This project preserves the Madison Avenue historic rail alignment and view shed and interprets the various Crossings at the exact point where the Swing Span Pivot Bridge (1877 Rail Bridge) was located. As of 2006, almost $1 million of local, state, federal and developer commitments have been secured to build this overlook. Subsequently, the developer decided to call his entire development Pivot Point at Yuma Crossing. In early 2006, Gateway Park began construction of $4.4 million in improvements, and is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. In July 2006 the local Historic District Review Commission approved the developer’s plan to build a $25 million, 150-room Hilton Garden Inn and 18,000 square foot Conference Center. It is the developer’s intent to complete this project by the end of 2007. Yuma Crossing State Historic Park is developing a new interpretive master plan, jointly funded by Arizona State Parks, City of Yuma, and the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area. The City of Yuma recently increased its annual contribution to the park to $175,000.

Recommendation/Change since last report:
Monitor the course of the local deliberations on new development within the landmark. The city of Yuma has been involving the Arizona State Historic Preservation with voluntary consultation on all developments, and that consultation should be encouraged and continued; encourage continued investment by Arizona State Parks and other entities in two key elements of the Landmark—Yuma Crossing State Historic Park and Yuma Territorial State Historic Park; promote dialogue with the Quechan Indian Nation on the prospects and future of Fort Yuma. encourage the City of Yuma to continue, when financially feasible, to reduce the footprint of its water treatment plant operations within the Landmark.

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