Editorials

Big Decision: Council to consider proposals tonight 2014.11.12

Morenci city council will meet for a special session tonight (Wednesday) to discuss an important issue for Morenci residents: a decision about proposed land use.

City council members meet in a special session tonight to consider two offers on the purchase of city property. The land is part of the former Parker Chemical property located on the east of Mill Street along Union Street.

Council received an offer from mayor Bill Foster who wants to develop the property into a recreational area in conjunction with the former Parker land that he owns on the west side of Mill Street. Foster is looking to develop a motor sports facility with mud bogs, mud drags, go-kart races, etc. He's offered to pay $16,000 for the property.

The other offer comes from council member Jeff Bell who wants to move his tax service business into the space by using a modular building. He intends to offer most of the land for sale to other prospective business owners, and he's offering just a dollar for the  acres.

If citizens had a vote, the motor sports park would not fare well at the polls, from what we have heard. The proposed $375,000 investment would bring some jobs, but would in turn seriously erode the quality of life in Morenci.

As far as Bell's offer is concerned, some residents don't think the city should give the property away for free, and others aren't so sure it's a good location for commercial development.

City council members—minus the mayor and one councilor—face a tough decision as they weigh the benefits of new development against quality of life issues and future land use. They might choose one offer over the other or they might reject them both.

The meeting moves from the usual venue of city hall to the Morenci Middle School library. That’s because after the initial meeting, council members will sit down with board of education members to discuss one more very important issue: the creation of a district library using school district boundaries.