by Peter Corbett – Jul. 28, 2009 10:33 AM
The Arizona Republic
The city has asked the Arizona State Land Department to put the rugged, mountainous terrain up for auction later this year. It is valued at $6.5 million.
“It has always been contemplated that Scottsdale would benefit from the Arizona Preserve Initiative,” said State Land Commissioner Maria Baier of the 1996 measure to protect scenic state trust land as open space. “This is a realization of that dream.”
Scottsdale still faces hurdles in acquiring the land, but city and state officials do not anticipate any surprises.
The Arizona State Land Department Board of Appeals will consider setting an auction for the 400-acre tract at its meeting Aug. 13. No date has been set for a sale, but it could not occur before late October because of state requirements for advertising State Land Department auctions.
Bob Cafarella, Scottsdale preservation director, said the 400-acre tract has been sought for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve since the original boundaries were mapped out in 1995.
“One of the (preserve) goals was protecting the scenic views,” he said, adding that the remote wildlife area is ideal habitat for javelina, deer and mountain lions.
There are no roads or trails into the area, which is adjacent to some of Scottsdale’s most exclusive gated homes at Silverleaf, Lost Canyon and Troon.
The state land is bordered by the alignments of Pinnacle Peak and Deer Valley roads from 112th Street west to 108th Street and a small sliver west to 104th Street.
Scottsdale has acquired about 15,000 acres for the preserve, which is expected to grow to 36,000 acres as funding and the land become available.
The city applied to the Arizona State Parks Board for matching funds to pay for half of the 400 acres of state trust land, said Kroy Ekblaw, Scottsdale executive assistant for strategic projects.
The land is designated for open space so city and state officials think it’s unlikely that a developer will bid on the land. But there will be it is open bidding at the auction.
The trust land includes a lush valley and two unnamed mountains with ridges at about 2,900 feet.