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Prescott Frontier Days seeks long-term lease with the city

PRESCOTT - With the existing lease at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds set to expire next year, the Prescott Frontier Days organization is hoping for a long-term extension that would ensure the World's Oldest Rodeo at the site for the next 35 to 50 years.

The organization will make a presentation to the Prescott City Council this week on the need for a new lease. The presentation will take place at the council's regular voting meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

Prescott City Manager Craig McConnell said Friday, Jan. 8, that the presentation would be an "introduction to the parties getting together and working on a new lease."

Currently, the two entities are in the final two years of a 15-year lease, which the city took on when it acquired the rodeo grounds property from Yavapai County in 2007. The lease dates back to 2002 and is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017.

Prescott Frontier Days President Joe Butner said the organization is hoping to extend the length of the lease to 35 to 50 years - a duration that he said would help the organization to make needed improvements at the rodeo grounds.

Butner said Tuesday's presentation would include a report on the rodeo's annual economic impact in the community, which he said exceeds $11 million.

"If the city can give us 35 to 50 years (in a lease), we would be able to make the type of capital improvements we need," Butner said.

For example: new stands for seating, and improvements to plumbing and wiring.

Prescott Frontier Days also would like to get complete access to the rodeo grounds' Mackin Building, Butner said, which would allow the organization to relocate its offices there, opening up the current rock administration building for a rodeo museum.

Prescott Frontier Days Secretary and long-time Board Member Mary Ann Suttles added that a long-term lease would give the organization the confidence to spend money on the needed improvements. "We want to get that lease in place," she said.

McConnell said the city also is interested in entering into a new lease or an extension. "The city certainly recognizes the economic benefit of the World's Oldest Rodeo, and certainly wants to do everything we can to ensure that we do have a long-term agreement with Prescott Frontier Days," he said.

Issues to be worked out in the coming negotiations include the length of the lease, as well as "a clear contractual understanding" about ongoing maintenance responsibilities and responsibilities on the "substantial facilities needs" at the rodeo grounds, McConnell said.

In other action, the council will:

• Consider an amendment to a 2013 Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) consent order concerning discharges of fluoride from the city's airport wastewater treatment plant.

The proposed amendment would set milestones and timeframes for improvements needed to comply with the state-issued Aquifer Protection Permit, according to a city memo.

In May 2015, the city requested a one-year extension to the ADEQ compliance requirement, while it awaited a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judgment on a lawsuit with Pure Wafer Inc., the company that had been identified as the discharger of the fluoride.

(In its lawsuit, Pure Wafer contended that the city had earlier agreed to make the infrastructure improvements needed to deal with the discharges).

ADEQ responded to the city's extension request with a proposal that would give Prescott 60 days to draft and submit a plan for dealing with its exceedance of fluoride discharge levels (if the ruling is not in the city's favor). Meanwhile, the city would be required to deal with the fluoride discharges through interim measures.

• Consider a comprehensive sign plan for the Touchmark at the Ranch Planned Area Development at Highway 69 and Lee Boulevard.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or 928-642-0951.


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