Stakeholders talk goals, vision for industrial park
Old Home Manor a good location, says councilman
Chino Valley is one step closer to welcoming industry at Old Home Manor Industrial Park as the first stakeholders meeting brought forth goals and visions for the development last week.
The meeting came just a few months after Chino Valley town council approved phase one of EPS Group’s scope of work plan in May. Spanning a portion of the western end of Old Home Manor, the industrial park is 200 acres in size.
The town should consider what types of industries it wants to attract, said Sergio Martinez, director of design services at Agate, Inc. Part of EPS Group’s project team in charge of architecture, Martinez said there are several industries that have shown interest ranging from manufacturers to biomedical science and those who seem to be looking would require 30,000 to 60,000 square foot structures.
“It’s a great opportunity to do it right and attract the jobs this community needs,” he said, also mentioning the idea of acquiring a developer that will lease the property from the town.
Town Manager Cecilia Grittman said the town will look into leasing the land as it might provide some more flexibility, but there may be some that want to and have to buy it depending on the business’ corporate model.
Grittman also said she is trying to create an economic development position in the manager’s officer using the money saved from not hiring an assistant manager. Whoever is in the position would work in conjunction developmental services and with a commercial broker, Grittman said, commenting that the hope is to incentivize businesses with something like number of jobs. A big focus for the council is jobs, she said.
“We don’t want 200 acres of just storage,” Grittman said. “We’re trying to get this all developed.”
Noting his duty as a councilman in the economic development subcommittee to balance the quality of life and the financial sustainability in Chino Valley, Councilman Corey Mendoza said that while the residents of Chino Valley would for the most part not see any industry in town, the reality is there does need to be some money imported. It’s nice that there is a lot of small businesses in town, but small businesses keep money circulating within the town and every time it changes hands the government takes a piece of it, making it so it shortly dwindles to nothing, Mendoza said. As such, there needs to be outside money and that’s where economic development comes into play, he said.
Another thing the council hears is that everybody wants something as long as it’s not in their backyard, Mendoza said.
“We have a great location here. We don’t want to be known as an industrial town, we kind of like the rural. That’s why the equestrian center was a no-brainer. We do need the income. I would like to see it kept kind of in its box,” he said. “I don’t know how much growth, how much business it’s going to take to supply the influx of money that we need to sustain the town. I’m hoping 200 acres is enough because that money that that brings will then trickle out to the other small businesses and I think that’s what small towns like are going to the local small businesses and we want to keep that as well.”
Bringing industry to the industrial park has to be a slow growth, something Chino can’t afford for it not to be, Mendoza said, remarking that the housing, employee count and commercial needs all have to expand at the same time.”
It’s a long road ahead, but work needs to get started on it, said Mayor Darryl Croft.
Much of the infrastructure is in place for industry to come in and what isn’t will be soon, said other town officials. Public Works Director Frank Marbury said there is a wastewater treatment plant right in the middle of industrial park and that a box culvert to cross the nearby wash is almost complete.
“It’s there and it’s in place. The road should be open by the end of next year. It should be enough to handle the storms,” Marbury said, mentioning it’s what’s called a 16-barrel box culvert. “It’s a rather large structure.”
Not only that but the goal of extending Road Four North to Jerome Junction is in its final stage and will probably be finished by the end of November, said Associate Planner Alex Lerna. After that comes the work of straightening it out, Lerna said.