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CLEANING UP: County uses funds to clean up Miracle Valley property ahead of auction

Posted at 4:15 PM, May 30, 2024

PALOMINAS, Ariz. (KGUN) — Over the last two years, Cochise County officials say they have spent $200,000 on cleanup efforts at the historic Miracle Valley property in Palominas.

In March, the Board of Supervisors voted to move $70,000 from District One's Community Enhancement Funds to help cover the costs for additional cleanup efforts.

“This is just transferring that money so it can be used,” District 1 Supervisor Tom Crosby said. “I don’t want to spend any more money on this then we have to.”

Each district supervisor has Community Enhancement Funds built into the county budget. It's up to the supervisor on how it's spent. Crosby offered all of his districts funds to the clean-up — which were then voted on and approved by the board.

During the March meeting, Crosby said that after seeing the property, and it not selling in last year's auction, something had to be done.

“I observed the visible part of the foundation and I saw that it was seriously dilapidated in the biggest building," he said. "And that begs the question in my view: What about the invisible damage or deterioration?”

Dan Coxworth, director of development services for the county, says the $70,000 was used to remove trash, septic tanks and a large concrete foundation. He says, so far, the asbestos abatement for multiple buildings has cost the most money.

“All the work that we're doing here is for the betterment of the property for auction and for the community that lives here in Palominas,” he said.

For years, the property has changed ownership and has not been maintained. Coxworth says by cleaning up the property they hope to attract viable buyers.

"As the owners of the property in order to sell this property, we want it to be in the best condition as possible," Coxworth said. "So the future property owner has a better chance of being successful.”

In October 2023, the property was part of the county's Tax Deed Land Sale, but the bidders didn't provide the money to complete the purchase. The property was listed as "as is," but people could not see the property before bidding because of safety concerns.

“Having this property cleaned up is important, so the new owner of the property isn't having to spend their capital doing what we're doing now," Coxworth said. "We would like to see a new property owner reinvest or invest in this property and redevelop (it).”

He says after this cleanup is done the Board of Supervisors will decide what to do next — whether that's more cleanup or putting it up for auction at the end of this year. The supervisors could also decide to have another work session to decide the next steps. Coxworth says more trash removal could be done because the county's fiscal year starts over July 1.

Alexis Ramanjulu is a reporter in Cochise County for KGUN 9. She began her journalism career reporting for the Herald/Review in Sierra Vista, which she also calls home. Share your story ideas with Alexis by emailing or by connecting on Facebook.