Cabinet Company Negotiating With Town, Adot For Piece Of Airport Land

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The Payson Town Council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Town Hall to consider whether to accommodate the land needs of a company that wants to relocate here and hire 50 area residents at an average annual salary of $28,000.

Vice Mayor Dick Wolfe, who requested the meeting, said it is part of an ongoing effort to "bring this manufacturer to Payson. Not only do they represent quality jobs, but they are asking for no incentives and they are willing to make a capital commitment of $1.75 million for land and improvements." Wolfe said.

The unidentified company wants to build a wooden cabinet manufacturing facility on five acres of airport land that is part of a 25-acre plot acquired by the town from the state land trust in July of 1999. According to Town Manager Rich Underkofler, the Arizona Department of Transportation reimbursed the town for almost 90 percent of the cost of the land under the condition that it be used exclusively for aeronautical purposes.

At the special meeting the council will consider authorizing negotiations with ADOT to enable the sale of the five-acre parcel sought by the cabinet manufacturing company. Wolfe has also requested that the council go into executive session for legal advice regarding the process.

The company in question originally contacted Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Kaleta with its specifications for a site. In addition to a sale price that fits within the company's budget, they include being adjacent to an all-weather road that will support semi-truck traffic with utilities to the property line.

"After an 'exhaustive search,'" Underkofler said, "Kaleta concluded that the airport site was the only one in Payson that would meet the needs of the company."

Wolfe is optimistic that negotiations with ADOT will produce a solution.

"We have some meetings behind us already," he said. "This would be a real win for the town if we can pull it off."

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