/ Modified mar 18, 2024 2:34 p.m.

Cochise Supervisors approve $70,000 to clean up Miracle Valley Bible College property

The purpose of the funds are to prepare the property for auction later this year

Miracle Valley Church Cochise County is looking to prepare the Miracle Valley Bible College property for auction. The property was deeded to the state in March 2022.
Summer Hom, AZPM

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted last week to allocate $70,000 to clean up the Miracle Valley Bible College property prior to the planned auction later this year.

In their March 12 meeting, the Cochise County Supervisors voted to approve $70,000 dollars of Community Enhancement Funds for District 1 to go towards the cleanup of the Miracle Valley Bible College property before it goes back to auction: the property was originally owned by evangelist A.A. Allen in 1958 according to Allen’s great-granddaughter Rebekah Allen Jones.

District 1 Supervisor Tom Crosby described the state of the property during the March 7 work session.

"And if you haven’t seen what disintegrated, rotting particle board looks like that used to be the roof, I would describe it as similar to a product of a dairy farm besides milk," said Crosby. "And it looks like several herds of cattle went through the building … And as Mr. Coxworth has also indicated … some buildings are okay.”

During last Tuesday’s regular meeting, Crosby said, "Still my intention to spend the least money to get this property auctioned … So I am not in favor of demolishing anything that cannot be efficiently and legally rebuilt for reuse.”

But A.A. Allen’s great-granddaughter Rebekah Allen Jones, is does not want to see any of the structures demolished.

"We have made it clear to them that if they pursue demolition and they go beyond just pulling those fuel tanks out of the back of the property, cleaning up trash, and they start moving towards structures being eliminated from the property, that’s when we would say ‘hey you guys are not actually taking care,’ because there is a statute that very much plays into this," said Rebekah Allen Jones. "Because the property last year was deemed to be historic and eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district — all of those buildings, not just a couple of them, but every single one of them together as a historic district. And with that, because it’s owned by the state in care of the board of supervisors for Cochise County, that means that they do have a legal obligation to ensure that the property isn’t accidentally transferred or sold or demolished or allowed to substantially deteriorate."

She said she’s trying to manage the relationship with the county, however, "We are reaching a point where we will certainly have absolutely no qualms about stepping in and taking legal action individually and against the county for anybody who does not take seriously their role in leaving these buildings, and let the public take care of something that does not need to be the county’s responsibility.”

District 2 Supervisor Ann English said she doesn’t want to place the burden of the decision surrounding the buildings on Community Development Director Dan Coxworth’s shoulders.

“I don’t want to put the responsibility on Dan Coxworth in Community Development to decide on these buildings if they are able to be saved or not," said English during last Tuesday's meeting. "That probably is an engineering or architectural or combined process that I certainly think that allocation of funds to make sure that we had a competent contractor, etc. look at the buildings to determine what could be salvageable.”

Supervisor Peggy Judd said she does not want the buildings demolished.

"I just don't want to tear down the buildings," said Judd during the March 12 meeting.

The Miracle Valley Bible College property was deeded to the state in 2022 because the prior owner failed to pay more than $500,000 in property taxes. The county had the property up for auction last September, but the three bidders who bid over the reserve failed to complete the sale, according to Cochise County Public Information Officer Jane Montgomery. The three bids for the property were $700,100, $700,000, and $499,900.

Cochise County Administrator Richard Karwaczka said during last Tuesday's meeting that neither bidder provided payment to the county.

"When we inquired, we went the highest bidder, who then didn't have the funds," said Karwaczka. "And then, we move on down the line. And there was no bid, or bidder with sufficient funds."

Last summer, the State Historic Preservation Office determined that the property was eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places through a letter of determination of eligibility (DOE).

Cochise County Development Services Director Dan Coxworth said in last July’s work session that DOE does not compel the county to list the property on the registrars of historic places, and that is a choice reserved for the county.​

State Historic Preservation Officer Kathryn Leonard said in an email to AZPM that the Miracle Valley Bible College property is currently not listed.

Cochise County Deputy County Administrator and Interim Clerk of the Board Sharon Gilman said in an email that no date has been set yet for the next Tax Deed Land Sale auction but noted the county expects the auction to take place in early September, and will notify the public in late August.

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