A new act: San Juan County signs grant agreement for future film studio

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

AZTEC — The San Juan County Commission and state officials have inked a grant agreement that will provide the county with $1 million to acquire property for, design, construct and equip a film studio.

The county had a signing ceremony during its May 21 meeting in Aztec. Filmmaker Brent Garcia, state Sen. Steve Neville, R-Farmington and Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett attended the signing ceremony.

County Commission Chairman Jack Fortner described Garcia as the brainchild behind the county’s request for capital outlay funding to create a film studio.

New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration Local Government Division Director Donnie Quintana and San Juan County Commission Chairman Jack Fortner sign a grant agreement for a film studio, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during the San Juan County Commission meeting in Aztec.

Capital outlay is money requested by local legislators for various infrastructure projects.

After speaking with Garcia about developing a film studio to support filming in San Juan County, Fortner approached the commission in January, citing potential for economic development. The commission chose to make the film studio its top priority project for capital outlay funds.

Project history:San Juan County seeks capital outlay money for film studio

“We reached out to Steve (Neville) because the senator said, ‘how about something regarding economic development’ and we thought how about something that already exists and promote it even further,” Fortner said.

San Juan County Commission Chairman Jack Fortner signs a grant agreement for a film studio, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, during a San Juan County Commission meeting in Aztec.

He said Farmington provided support for the county’s request because the city recognized the need for economic diversification.

San Juan County will have until June 30, 2023, to complete the project.

Filming in the Four Corners:Film production facility could boost local economy, officials say

The $1 million of funding is part of a Capital Outlay package passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year.

County Manager Mike Stark said this is the fastest turnaround the county has seen for getting capital outlay funding agreements following the legislative session. He said the capital outlay funding included $4.3 million to San Juan County, including funding for San Juan Regional Medical Center.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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