by Joe Baynes, Director, Recreation Services for the City of Prescott
In November 2022, Yavapai County, the Town of Prescott Valley and the City of Prescott entered into an intergovernmental agreement for the purpose of purchasing Arizona state trust land around Glassford Hill.
State trust lands are administered by the Arizona State Land Department and the beneficiary of the proceeds of the land sales is primarily K-12 education.
The effort to collaborate on purchasing and preserving Glassford Hill dates back to 1997, and in 1998 a major milestone was achieved when the state land commissioner set aside 1,893 acres on Glassford Hill as “suitable for conservation.” this was important because State Trust lands must be sold at auction for appraised value.
The “suitable for conservation” designation brought the appraised value down significantly.
In 2000, City of Prescott voters passed a 1% sales tax dedicated to street projects and open space (the tax has since expired). The revenue generated from the tax allowed for many open space purchases in and around the Granite Dells and contiguous to Glassford Hill.
Most recently, the City was successful in acquiring the 480-acre historic Storm Ranch in the heart of the Dells, as well as a transfer of 474 acres of property in the Dells though an annexation and development agreement with Arizona Eco Development, a private development company.
The partnership with Prescott Valley and Yavapai County is an opportunity to create a regional park that will consist of approximately 5,000 acres of the most scenic property in the state.
The intergovernmental agreement is a 10-year agreement with the partners meeting each year to determine what we collectively would like to target for purchase.
We have identified approximately 2,200 acres of the most prominent features of Glassford Hill for purchase this year. We currently are working with our state legislators and Arizona State Parks and Trails to receive funding to off-set some of the cost of the project.
These investments in open space properties create not only quality of life enhancement for our citizens but also economic benefits through eco-tourism and the sales tax dollars generated from those visits.
Preservation of these prominent landmarks will continue to reap benefits now and into the future.