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4:54 PM Thu, Sept. 20th

Council endorses proposed industrial park

PRESCOTT VALLEY ­ A proposed industrial park that will create 3,500 to 4,000 jobs drew the support of the Town Council Thursday evening.

"I think it is an excellent idea and I hope we move forward," councilwoman Mary Baker said during a work/study meeting. The council took no action at the meeting, and Vice Mayor Mike Flannery was absent.

Town Manager Larry Tarkowski envisions the proposed Prescott Valley Commerce Center as an opportunity to diversify the economy without being driven by population growth. Town officials have proposed a partnership with the Fain family, which owns 881 acres on both sides of Fain Road that the town will consider for the industrial park.

The Fain Signature Group wants to draw light manufacturing and distribution centers, a family member said.

"This is going to happen," Tarkowski said Friday.

Tarkowski started the discussion on Thursday by noting that the town has experienced "some incredibly fine success" by recruiting the Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, the East Campus of Yavapai Regional Medical Center and the Tim's Toyota Center.

To make the industrial park a reality, the town government would invest in infrastructure, according to Tarkowski. The Fain family in turn would agree to freeze land prices to make the site attractive to major employers who may want to locate there.

The site needs better access, and the town envisions building an interchange at Fain Road about 1.25 miles south of Lakeshore Drive, Tarkowski explained after the meeting. The interchange would provide access to the industrial park and serve as a gateway to the tri-city area from Interstate 17.

Tarkowski said a future road would link the interchange to Cherry Road (Highway 169), which in turn leads to I-17. He estimated the length of the future road at six miles.

Town staff will work on these plans "to find out what your appetite is," Tarkowski told the council members.

He said the Fains plan to sell individual lots at 20 acres or larger to draw major employers.

The Fain family has found a lot of interest in the site from businesses, Fain Signature Group partner Jeff Wasowicz told the council. He described Fain Road as being "an important corridor in the future."

The council needs to be "forward thinking" by building the interchange at Fain Road, Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye said.

"We are looking at $5 million now," she said.

The interchange is part of a regional transportation plan, Tarkowski said.

"This is something on the horizon and that is not the near-term horizon," he said. "We will have more work studies."

Councilman Harold Wise said, "I think we are making the first step tonight."

Tarkowski said the industrial park will take 10 years to develop, and depend on the ability of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation to lure companies to the site.

"We need to attract jobs that are not growth-related and growth-dependent," he said.

Wise asked, "How foolish can we be to set this aside? We need the jobs for the community."

The proposed industrial park will be similar to the one at the Kingman Airport, the foundation's executive director, Gary Marks, said after the meeting.

Marks said that he expects the first business prospect to set up operations at the industrial park in 18 months.

"Recruitment (of companies) is going on right now," he said.

The proposed industrial park also is within an enterprise zone, which entitles eligible businesses to receive tax breaks.

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com