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Nonprofit may lease Dixon’s Orchard
Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
An Albuquerque nonprofit wants to lease Dixon’s Apple Orchard and hire disabled employees and veterans to restore the iconic site to productive use. Adelante Development Center Inc. is seeking $1.9 million in state money to smooth a lease agreement with the New Mexico Land Office, said Mike Kivitz, president and CEO of Adelante. Adelante, which provides jobs and training for about 1,000 New Mexicans with physical and mental disabilities, also wants to restore the orchard as a tourism destination.
“We’re more than just a business that wants to sell apples,” Kivitz said. “We’re interested in making
(Dixon’s) a multi-use property.”State Land Commissioner Ray Powell said Adelante is “worthy of consideration” as a potential
bidder for the lease, because it would preserve Dixon’s as a productive orchard that would provide
revenue for the Land Office.
Without the orchard, the property would provide only low-value grazing rights to the Land Office,he said. Powell also said he hopes the property will attract additional bidders for leasing rights. Wildfire and flooding in 2011 devastated the 620-acre orchard near Cochiti Pueblo, destroying buildings and killing many of the apple trees.
The Land Office has provided some irrigation this year in an effort to save the 2,700 surviving trees, Powell said. Before the disaster, the orchard made some $300,000 a year in sales and paid the Land Office about $40,000 a year under a lease agreement, he said.
Since 2011, the orchard has sold no apples and produced little revenue for the state, he said. Land Office officials say they want to solicit new bids for the orchard.But under state law, a new lease holder must agree to pay a former lease holder for the value of improvements, said Harry Relkin, general counsel for the Land Office.
The $1.9 million in state money Adelante is seeking is contained in a $122.6 million package of
statewide public works projects pending at the state Legislature.
Adelante Moves Into the New Secure Document CenterAdelante Development Center, a local nonprofit agency supporting people with disabilities, moved two of their social enterprises to a newly purchased and remodeled warehouse at 1618 1st Street NW in Albuquerque. Adelante’s new location combined Adelante Document Destruction Services and Adelante Document Imaging into a single site.
The new center is called the Secure Document Center; combining the two businesses with hopes to grow business and hire more people. Adelante purchased building valued at $1.1 million for a discounted price; a donation of the Blaugrund family. Adelante spent about $1 million on renovations, and Service Electric donated time and materials for the remodel. Hart Construction was the general contractor working alongside Claudio Vigil, the architect for the new site.
Adelante is a locally-founded nonprofit agency that provides employment opportunities for over 350 people with disabilities through their social enterprises. For more information, visit www.GoAdelante.org. To inquire about business-to-business services offered through Adelante, visit www.AdelanteEnterprises.com.
Adelante Honors Local Businesses in Celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness MonthIn celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Adelante Development Center, a local nonprofit supporting people with disabilities, honored seven businesses for their support in providing employment opportunities for New Mexicans with disabilities. The agency also recognized Kirtland Air Force Base for their long-term support of employment for people with disabilities.
Award winners at Adelante's October event included the United Seating and Mobility, Superior Mortgage, The Gap, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Bernalillo County Youth Services Center, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The businesses were recognized for their support and patronage of Adelante’s affirmative businesses, which employ over 350 people with disabilities in New Mexico.
Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) was honored by Adelante for the base's 20 years of support in providing employment opportunities for New Mexicans with disabilities. Adelante began providing custodial services for KAFB in 1991. Currently, Adelante has a contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency on the base and also serves as a sub-contractor to LifeROOTS on an AbilityOne contract. Through these contracts, Adelante employs 32 people with disabilities and cleans 148 buildings on the base.
The support of the government and of the local business community is important in addressing the high unemployment rates for people with disabilities. In the United States, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is over 70 percent. When employed, individuals have greater independence, can contribute to society as taxpayers, and reduce their dependence on governmental support.
Adelante runs a variety of social enterprises with a dual mission – to provide quality business services while employing people with disabilities. Through Adelante, people with disabilities provide assembly, packaging, mailing, scanning, shredding, and janitorial services for local companies and government entities. Adelante also operates two thrift stores in Valencia County.
Disability Employment Awareness Month is organized nationally by the AbilityOne Program, whose mission is to provide employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities by providing goods or services to the federal government at a fair price. Adelante has earned multiple local, state, and federal government contracts and has thousands of business customers through the agency's social enterprises. To research the services available through Adelante and to support employment for people with disabilities, business owners can visit www.AdelanteEnterprises.com.