Nov 21, 2023: Glassford Hill Land Auction Sets Stage for Glassford Dells Regional Park
Representatives of the Town of Prescott Valley, the City of Prescott, and Yavapai County gathered on Tuesday, November 21 at the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott for the long-awaited auction of nearly 2,300 acres of land on Glassford Hill between the two communities. The open space is planned for a regional park through an intergovernmental agreement with the two municipalities and the County.
Those attending the historic auction also included State Representative Selina Bliss, Senator Ken Bennett, Arizona State Land Dept. Executive Deputy Commissioner Robyn Sahid and Arizona State Parks and Trails Director Robert Broscheid.
At a reception following the auction, several dignitaries honored the work of former State Land Department Commissioner Lisa Atkins and City of Prescott Recreation Director Joe Baynes for their dedicated support of the auction and the regional park concept.
Since the late 1990s, Prescott Valley has been involved in efforts to protect Glassford Hill from private development. On November 4th, 1998, after a petition from the Town of Prescott Valley and City of Prescott, the State Land Department designated a portion of the property as suitable for conservation purposes.
On May 26, 2022, the Town of Prescott Valley entered into the Intergovernmental Agreement with the City of Prescott and Yavapai County for the ultimate purchase of approximately 3,500 acres of Arizona State Trust land. The parties have been working since that time to bring the first phase forward for purchase. The Arizona State Land Department and Arizona State Parks and Trails Department have been helpful in pushing this project forward, a process which can sometimes take multiple years. The process took just 18 months from the time the municipalities and the County signed the IGA until the auction date.
Tuesday’s first-phase auction includes the acquisition of approximately 1,317 acres for Prescott Valley and 967 acres for Prescott. Purchase of this property will include the benefits of preservation of open space and opportunities for outdoor recreational amenities for the entire region and state. Proceeds from the auction will also benefit Arizona schools. With Prescott’s prior purchases of open space land, the successful auction secures 4,100 acres of land east of Highway 89, including Watson Lake, a portion of Granite Dells, and Glassford Hill.
Funding for Prescott Valley’s portion of the land comes from the Prescott Valley General Fund and is budgeted in the current FY 2023-24 budget. Offsetting the Town’s costs is a commitment from Yavapai County to fund 35 percent of the purchase per the IGA. Additionally, thanks to the efforts of Representative Bliss, Representative Quang Nguyen, Senator Bennett, and Governor Katie Hobbs, the Town of Prescott Valley, and City of Prescott each received $1.75 million from the State budget to help with acquisition of these parcels. With these offsetting revenues, the Town’s ultimate purchase price for the 1,317 acres will be approximately $1.33 million.
A community steering committee has been working for several months to develop a plan for the recreational use of Prescott Valley’s portion of the land, which could include expanded hiking and biking trails and other amenities.
Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta told those attending Tuesday that this purchase of open space land is evidence of the Town of Prescott Valley, City of Prescott and Yavapai County’s shared commitment to environmental stewardship and the well-being of their citizens.
“Residents and visitors may never fully comprehend the challenges and the collective effort that went into securing this land, because the work that has been done, the dedication poured into this endeavor, was never about recognition or personal accolades. It was about something far greater - it was for the community and for generations to follow,” he said.