Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN – A deserted downtown building may soon become an avenue of hope for homeless and at-risk veterans.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors overwhelmingly agreed Monday to sell Arnold Plaza to the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council for a price of $58,500. The veterans’ organization wants to turn the building into a transition site for veterans seeking assistance.
“We want to get them the help they need,” said JAVC President Pat Farrell.
JAVC has been scouting a site for nearly two years and the plaza has been on their radar for the last few months. Hazardous materials such as mold, lead paint and asbestos have been major obstacles in getting the building off the county’s hands. JAVC will use a Brownfields Grant in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to cover costs of removing the materials.
“The plaza was built in 1963,” Farrell said. “It’s not a pristine facility by any stretch of the imagination.”
The county has been trying to figure out what to do with the building since the Mohave County treasurer’s and assessor’s offices moved out in 2005. There had been talk of demolishing the building, but that dried up when bids to tear the building down came in at over a half-million dollars.
District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius said she’s been working to keep the building around to see if someone would buy it.
“People have expressed interest and nothing happened until today,” she said.
District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson, a U.S. Army veteran himself, sponsored the item.
There were actually two votes on the item. Angius made a motion to sell the building for $1, letting JAVC use the remaining money to help cover other costs. She felt the organization could use an extra boost.
“I thought it would be a nice gesture,” she said. “I think it will be a great for Kingman. We support their organization and their mission.”
It was defeated 4-1. For unknown reasons, Johnson dissented. A second motion with the original price passed unanimously.
Farrell said ADEQ will make an assessment of the building before committing a monetary amount towards the project. Farrell will be going to a class in Flagstaff to learn how to prepare the abatement paperwork. There’s still a few months of surveys and public input before the process begins rolling. JAVC will work with the city planning and zoning to make sure the building is operating within code.
“I want to thank everyone who helped with this process,” Farrell said. “I’m proud of the advances made in Mohave County to help our veterans.”
JAVC is always looking for volunteers and financial donations. For more information, contact Pat Farrell at 928-716-3001.