Here is the full text of the letter we received from Supervisor Ryan today regarding the misunderstanding about the Fort Tuthill State Land Auction:

Click here to see the letter in PDF format.

October 7, 2016
Flagstaff Biking Organization
Attention: Anthony Quintile
PO BOX 23851
Flagstaff, AZ 86002

Dear Anthony

Is the State Trust Land next to Fort Tuthill County Park threatened with loss? Yesterday I put out an alert that caught people’s attention and begged the question, “Is it too much ado about nothing?” The answer is, “Maybe.” But the scenario is not as bad as originally thought.
Do we still need you out there? The answer is “Yes.” We hope for people to be there to help with something good, and to dissuade any potential bidder from bidding against us.

The premise that has gotten most people concerned is the possibility that the County could lose this land in an auction.
It was originally thought that the land could go directly toward development if lost at auction. However, we discovered yesterday that there is a provision in the auction notice that would make it less likely to be bid on by a private party. That provision is that the successful bidder could only use the property for County or Municipal purposes. This use requirement does make it more unlikely that a third party would bid on the property. Was my alert much ado about nothing? Perhaps. But the use requirement does not prevent anyone from bidding; and, in fact, property has been sold to third parties elsewhere in the State with this provision in place.

If a third party were to purchase the property, it would be highly unlikely the County could acquire the property quickly or without additional cost.
While I counted on staff advice and a presentation that led to my incorrect understanding of this, I am guilty of leading with my heart and not reading and understanding everything. My understanding led me to pull out all stops to request help. Unfortunately, I called on people I trust and trust me. Based on this trust they put out the “Word.”

Is there a potential threat to Fort Tuthill? The answer is “Yes”, but not what was originally reflected in my request for help. The County could be outbid, and we have limited funds. Anyone driving up the costs will draw down on other projects, or if they drive it up too much, they can remove us from considering this portion of land as part of the Park. This does not change any of the process or intent or recommendation to purchase this land which staff brought to us. It only reduces the potential threat. Staff’s recommendation is appropriate for what we need to do.
I sounded an alert that was based on a greater threat than originally perceived. Am I embarrassed? Absolutely.

Is this too much ado about nothing in the other direction? Perhaps. But now that we have gotten your
attention, this is a good thing that we have been working on for a long time. I have been working on this
acquisition effort since serving on the original Fort Tuthill County Master Plan created in the mid 1990’s.
We later placed it in the Coconino County Parks and Open Space Initiative which was approved in 2002.
We have been working toward this day for many years.

We need you out there to celebrate. And we need you out there should anyone consider bidding against
us. Please come out and help us at the Auction on October 19 at 11 AM on the County Courthouse
steps.

Matt Ryan
Coconino County Supervisor