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4:09 PM Tue, Oct. 16th

Circle Trail presentation tops Prescott Council agenda

PRESCOTT - A proposal that would nearly complete the 50-mile Circle Trail around Prescott will go to the Prescott City Council this week for an informational presentation.

The discussion will take place during the council's workshop at 3 p.m., Tuesday, at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

Representatives from the Yavapai Trails Association and the Open Space Alliance will be on hand at the workshop to offer background on the effort to build a series of recreational trails to allow hikers, bikers and horseback riders to circle the community.

City Director of Public Affairs Kim Kapin noted that the effort has been under way for about 22 years, and is now nearly complete. "It's been a long, arduous road for the Trails Association," he said.

The segment currently under consideration for lease runs from the 'P' Mountain area to the Peavine Trail area, Kapin said.

Prescott Parks and Recreation Director Joe Baynes said the 6.6-mile section would traverse Arizona State Trust Land. The city met with the State Land Department in January to discuss the steps necessary for the lease of the easement for the trail, he said.

As proposed, the city would lease the easements for about $120,000, which would cover a combination of 10-year and 50-year leases, Baynes said.

The bulk of the easement would go through vacant, commercially designated areas, which would come with a 10-year lease, while the residential areas would have a 50-year lease, Baynes said.

He is proposing using money from the city's open space fund to cover the cost of the easement leases.

Despite the relatively short term of the 10-year leases, Baynes said the potential exists for renewing the leases after 10 years, and ultimately, for retaining the trails through future development agreements.

If the City Council approves the leases, Baynes said volunteers and parks employees could have the trails built within about 10 months to a year.

That would leave only about a one-and-a-half-mile stretch of unfinished Circle Trail through private ranchland west of Williamson Valley Road, near the Pioneer Parkway intersection, Baynes said.

Along with the city's sections of trail, much of the completed Circle Trail runs through U.S. Forest Service land, and takes in picturesque areas near Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain, and Quartz Mountain.

The city applied to the State Land Department in early 2011 for the easements through the unfinished section.

A State Land Department official pointed out at that time that the department manages its property to reach the highest use, and to optimize economic return for its trust beneficiaries - the largest of which is public education.

In other action, the council will:

• Conduct a closed-door executive session to discuss the Hassayampa Golf Club bankruptcy.

• Hear a review of City Court operations by Magistrate Arthur Markham.

• Hear a public comment from resident Jim Jenson regarding pullouts along Senator Highway.

• Hear an update from Claire Louge regarding the First Things First program.

• Hear a recap of the Whiskey Road Marathon by representatives from the Prescott YMCA.

• Hear a public comment from Dennis DuVall regarding campaign finance reform.

• Present a plaque to the Susan J. Rheem Adult Day Center.

• Hear a public comment from Monte Crooks regarding the Community Appreciation Event, June Swoon Sock Hop and Car Show.