Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – After a decade of sitting vacant and turning into a downtown eyesore, Arnold Plaza was given new life Tuesday when county supervisors approved selling it to Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council for renovation as a veterans’ resource center.
Mohave County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the sale of the property at 301 and 315 Oak St. to JAVC for $58,500.
The county agreed in 2016 to sell Arnold Plaza, but the building required asbestos abatement and lead-based paint removal, which was completed in December using a $120,000 Brownfield grant administered through Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
“We just saved you $500,000 and paid you $58,500 on top of that,” JAVC President Pat Farrell told the board right after it had discussed saving $500,000 a year by meeting once a month instead of twice.
The county had estimated it would cost $500,000 to demolish Arnold Plaza.
Farrell said he’s going to enjoy fixing the problems at Arnold Plaza and turning it into an asset for at-risk veterans. The resource center will offer job training, counseling and transitional housing for homeless vets.
Mohave County leads Arizona in veteran suicide rates, and 30 percent of its homeless population are vets, Farrell noted.
“The object here is to get them healthy,” he said. “Some want to hold a sign for the rest of their life. We want to give the others a hand up and work with them to become productive citizens of Mohave County.”
Farrell said the sale of Arnold Plaza is a “win-win” project, and a very small percentage of people have the “NIMBY train of thought.”
Arnold Plaza, with about 25,000 square feet, was built in 1963 and had a title company, doctor’s office, construction firm and other businesses in the building.
The county purchased the property in 1992 and used it for the Treasurer and Assessor offices. It has not been used since 2005.
The property was appraised in 2007 and again in 2013, with the last appraisal coming in at $65,000. It was put out to bid, but the asbestos issue killed any interest.
While the building has been cleared of asbestos, there are still issues with the roof of the building, Farrell said.
JAVC continues to raise funds for the renovation of the Arnold Plaza, including the sale of a donated 1958 Chevy Yeoman station wagon on eBay with a starting bid of $35,000.