Archive for Gift of ranch

DK Ranch donation goes to the University of Arizona

University of Arizona expanding its footprint in Northern Arizona

The Steele Foundation announced Monday that it selected the University of Arizona  rather than  Yavapai College  for its donation of the 45.7 acre DK Ranch along Oak Creek. However, Yavapai College has been granted access to the property through a reciprocal program partnership with the university.

The Steele Foundation selected UA out of several local colleges and universities who had vied for the Ranch It is  valued at $2.6 million.

According to Angela Gonzales, Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal, the University of Arizona will use the property for its proposed veterinary school, among other programs. You may read Ms. Gonzales complete report by clicking here.  The Journal was told that every student within UA’s Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program will be able to live on the property for at least six weeks to complete rotations on ranch management, riparian ecosystems, wildlife medicine and management as well as other programs.  The veterinary program is scheduled to open in August 2016.

Tom Tracey, reporting for the Verde Independent, interviewed Dr. Penelope Wills about the decision.  His complete article may be accessed by clicking here.  Dr. Wills’ told Mr. Tracey that  “[w]e congratulate the University of Arizona on being selected to receive this magnificent donation. We understand that The Steele Foundation cited as a strong point in U of A’s proposal their partnership with and commitment to working with Yavapai College. We have a solid relationship with Dr. Shane Burgess, dean of the University of Arizona Agriculture and Life Sciences department, and I’m confident that many of the programs that we had included in our proposal will be part of the plan going forward.” 

The proposal-period for deciding who should receive the ranch generated anger from Dr. Wills who charged, without naming the Sedona 
Redrock News, that a cartoon on its editorial page might interfere with Yavapai College receiving the ranch.  At the time of the Steele Foundation announced its decision,  it stated it felt this was a “win-win for everyone involved.”  D K ranch map



President says cartoon and editorial inappropriate

Wills’ speculates that newspaper cartoon may hurt chances of getting gift if College loses out in grant writing war for DK ranch

At the May monthly meeting of the District Governing Board, President Penelope Wills refused to give Representative Deb McCasland an update on the grant application that was in the works for the D.K. ranch in the Verde Valley. However, at the June meeting, an obviously angry Wills’ gave a full update without being asked by anyone. That 4 minute report can be accessed by clicking here.

During the update, Wills  focused on the Sedona Redrock News (but not by name) and a cartoon and editorial in that paper to take the blame if the College grant request is denied. Wills’ told the Governing Board that the paper seems “to be mocking” this potential gift.

If the newspaper was “mocking” the College and the potential gift, it should have come as no surprise to Wills. The Blog believes the Cartoon, which appears below, acccurtely depicts how most folks in the Valley feel about the domination by Prescott over Sedona and the Valley.  Wills’ did not identify the date of the editorial so the Blog cannot link you to that item.



June 1 deadline for College submission to obtain ranch as a grant

More information about possible grant of DK Ranch surfaces

Thanks to an article by Mark Lineberger of the Larson newspapers, a great deal of new information has surfaced regarding the possible gift of the DK Ranch in Cornville. It has about 1,500 feet on Oak Creek on 45 acres of land. The ranch is located in Cornville and has been listed for sale for as much as $4.5 million dollars.  The College will submit its proposal for the property by June 1. There is a home and a barn, which President Penelope Wills describes as in “excellent condition.”

According to the article, the ranch is now owned by the Steele Foundation,  a philanthropic organization based in Phoenix The Steele Foundation has awarded more than $75 million in grants to over 300 organizations within the state of Arizona. Apparently, this is not a Charitable Remainder trust, as was originally thought. It now appears that if the College is successful, it will receive the property free and clear—although those details have yet to be publicly confirmed by the College.

In the interview with President Penelope Wills, she told Mr. Lineberger that the College was “invited to submit a proposal” to the Steele Foundation. She said that the property cannot be “flipped” for resale and must be used for educational purposes. . She also said that the property could be used  for classrooms. Wills said it would likely take at least a year to develop a plan for the property should the college acquire it.

Stuart Blacklaw was also interviewed by Mr. Lineberger. He said that the ranch could potentially be used for agricultural instruction and the teaching of animal sciences. “That’s the primary focus that we envision,” he told the reporter.

The property has water rights going back to 1919. Other uses of the property discussed in the interviews were: (a) Use the ranch to teach conservation and environmental science. (b) Partner with the Universality of Arizona’s veterinary medicine program.  For some, it was odd that a discussion of expanding the viticulture program to that site was not discussed.

The article by Mr. Lineberger appeared in the May 13, 2015 issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.

dk ranch