The Gila Community College board’s objection to the quick sale of land it doesn’t own for a next-door university appears likely to inflict another needless setback on the project on which so much of the Rim Country’s economic future relies.
Fortunately, Gila County and the Rim Country Educational Alliance appear likely to quickly resolve the outstanding issues, hopefully preventing a major delay in sticking to the current schedule.
Already, both sides have largely agreed on a revised appraisal that will boost the cost of the 20 acres in question from $500,000 to $600,000.
That process remains barbed with ironies, since the U.S. Forest Service essentially donated the land for educational purposes in the first place. In essence, the Forest Service gave the land to the state, which passes it along to Gila County for educational purposes — like the expansion of Gila Community College.
So in truth, Gila County could have simply given GCC 30 acres for its ultimate expansion and given the other 20 acres to the Educational Alliance and satisfied the requirements of the deed restrictions.
Nonetheless, the Educational Alliance will likely agree to the $600,000 price tag, with the money earmarked for GCC.
GCC raised some other concerns — like whether the Alliance would build facilities compatible with the expanded GCC campus.
Now, that’s a legitimate concern. But site plans and assurances should have satisfied those concerns long ago. The Alliance plans to build a 1,000-student campus next door to GCC, which now has enough land to expand from five acres to 30 acres and accommodate at least 5,000 students of its own.
We wish that the GCC board had taken a more supportive and creative approach.
For instance, why worry about having a research park or an incubator center next door? Why not seize upon that possibility as a chance for the college to further its vocational training role?
Why not say, ‘Please put them next door, so we can build a vital, student-generating, creative vocational training component around that proximity?’
Instead, it seems likely the GCC board’s belated qualms will merely delay for a while longer a project that holds terrific promise for the future of the community college and the community it serves.
So we can only hope that the county and Alliance negotiators will allay GCC’s concerns, so the community college board can turn its attention to how it can help rather than hinder a project that promises such great benefits to this community.
Kudos to Rim Country residents
OK, Rim Country folks, consider this a very hearty pat on the back and a heartfelt thank you.
You came through with flying colors to help the area food banks take care of your neighbors for Thanksgiving.
There are even some turkeys remaining in stock for Christmas.
All totaled, in just two weeks you donated more than 21,800 pounds of food and, on Turkey Tuesday, Nov. 22, contributed $4,100.
All that generosity helped the St. Vincent de Paul Society Rim Country Food Bank feed about 2,000 people and sent home 431 boxes from the food bank at the Community Presbyterian Church.
But don’t stop now. Hunger never takes a holiday and so the need remains.
As you are out and about in the next few weeks you can contribute something to the food collection boxes at grocery stores, banks, schools and other government buildings and many area businesses.
Going to the Payson Christian Ministerial Fellowship’s Spirit of Christmas program Dec. 11? Take several cans or boxes of non-perishable food for admission.
There are plenty of opportunities to continue to help the area food banks aide Rim Country residents in need this winter — take advantage of them.
Keep in mind what will make a filling meal for the most people: a couple cans of tuna and a helper mix can feed up to six people; pasta and jars of sauce will go a fair distance (at least a couple of meals); bags of dried beans will make several rib-sticking suppers; soups, whether canned or dried, are good contributions too.
To contribute perishables, take them directly to the Rim Country food bank on St. Philips Street. It is open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
To make a cash donation, send checks to Payson Area Food Drive, P.O. Box 703, Payson, AZ 85547.