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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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6/5/2014 2:45:00 PM
Vineyard could occupy vacant Mingus land

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD -- The Verde Valley wine industry may solve the vacant-lot question past and present Mingus Union school boards have unsuccessfully tried to solve.

Superintendent Paul Tighe said during Tuesday night's board meeting that he's been researching and examining trends with local realtors to see whether a lease or sale of the land would be beneficial.

"There is interest among some local vineyards in leasing the land to have vineyards there," Tighe said. "They've offered to work with our viticulture and agriscience programs to support our vineyard."

Mingus students started cultivating a small plot of land planted with 300 vines this past academic year.

Discussions are still in the preliminary phase, and representatives from local growers and groups like the Arizona Wine Growers Association and have been involved.

About 15 acres could be used on the vacant lot, and still allow some of the school's overflow parking when needed, Tighe said.

With the high cost of putting in each acre, Tighe said a lease would likely last between 15 and 20 years.

"We're looking at demographic projections that don't show that we would necessarily need that space within that timeframe," Tighe said.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @ymgonzal and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Article comment by: T. Hearn

I thought Mingus finally decided to sell that property over a year ago. Tim Foist asked Cottonwood to rezone for high residential density to facilitate the highest price possible. Cottonwood approved the rezoning in May of 2013, with stipulation that it would revert to single family units if the development plan wasn't complete within five years.

http://www.verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1190&ArticleID=53177

Currently, those 15 acres aren't zoned agricultural. And I'm not sure Superintendent Tighe is aware of the difficulties involved.

According to Mark Lineberger of the Cottonwood Journal Extra, "The school board had considered other uses for the property over the years, including potential expansion of the athletic fields or the campus, but the presence of Camino Real, previously State Route 279, that serves part of the nearby Verde Villages, made these plans impractical."

http://cjx.stparchive.com/Archive/CJX/CJX06052013p01.php

What is the point of hanging onto that property for 15 to 20 years? The impracticality isn't going to disappear.


Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ no one in particular and everyone in general

Does Mingus have any offers from legitimate buyers? I didn't see any mentioned in the budget meeting, but could easily have missed something over the last year.

Could this have anything to do with SB 1100? Maybe Mingus has to do something revenue-producing with that land in case the bill passes, and the viticulturalists stepped up with an offer to lease it to grow grapes.

Kirk Waddle could probably resolve speculation, but SEN. CHESTER CRANDELL has strong views on SB 1100, was elected to field questions from opinionated constituents, and will be at the VFW POST 7400, 701 E. Aspen St. (Mingus Mountain Republicans Monthly Meeting) TOMORROW, Tuesday the 10th, @ NOON. His input might augment whatever the Business Manager and Board could divulge. PS: Rep. Barbara Barton, the winemakers' champion in the House, will be there, too.

End commercial interruption. The more important lush vs. teetotaler debate will now resume.


Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014
Article comment by: How about they grow table grapes, end of argument.

No big deal. As has been mentioned you can turn pretty much any fruit or grain into alcohol. Rather than pretend it does not exist how about we teach kids what it is and why it is.

It's growing grapes folks, not a scandal other than what you make it.


Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Article comment by: Just what the schools should be teaching kids about.

Yep! Let's teach young how to make alcohol And that wine really won't hurt you. I'm appalled that MUHS is promoting the alcohol business when the students can't even drink for several more yrs. I guess they are just gearing them up early to be ready for a lifetime of drinking. Promoting wine is the wrong image for a high school.

Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Article comment by: It's Ag, Tom

Um, Tom, grapes are an agricultural product. I don't think MUHS has a class in winemaking. Corn is also an ag product. It can be made into ethanol, tortillas, or yes, moonshine. The National Science Foundation recognizes both the science of growing grapes (viticulture), and the science of making wine (enology). These two fields of study provide viable careers for a growing economy in the Verde Valley. Is your argument morally based, instead of scientifically researched? People can become addicted to food, sex, gambling, and many other options to fill the whole in one's soul. Come out from under your tinfoil hat.

Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Article comment by: Vineyard Lease Poor Choice

I'm all for agri sciences at Mingus. I am all against viticulture as part of that program. Grapes require quite a bit of care and trellis training when school is out. Who is going to do the work? Grapes are being attacked by grape skeletonizers at the school and this area. Who is going to spray and with what?
Mingus should just sell the land and not try to join the real estate mogul world. MUHS is for education. Viticulture is of limited educational purpose. How many laborers does any one vineyard need? We are training tomorrows workers, not providing free labor for today's fad industries, if you can call viticulture an industry.


Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

If Mingus Union had a course in Moonshine making would that seem unusual? Wine has the same chemistry.

Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2014
Article comment by: Tell the Winemakers

Make sure you let the grape growers know about your new 90 ft cell tower getting ready to go in. Yippey!!! More rent money for the school.

The radiation will effect the health and nutrition of the grapes.
Never mind the kids.


Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014
Article comment by: And Of The Act Of Showing ...

fiscal prudence...sell the land to interested
buyers. The new land owner seek their own
fiscal resources to make use of the land.

The school in the mean time can then stay
focused to provide excellent education for
less dollars each year...for the next 20 to
30 years.




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