Company buys southern Nevada desert highway town, airstrip

August 20, 2021 GMT
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FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, a small single-engine plane is parked just outside the Cal-Nev-Ari Casino in Cal-Nev-Ari, Nev. A mining company that serves the agricultural industry has acquired most of a tiny desert town with an aircraft landing strip near the state lines of California, Nevada and Arizona, a newspaper reported Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Universal Green Technology, majority owner of mining firm Heart of Nature, paid $8 million for Cal-Nev-Ari, a town with a landing strip off U.S. Highway 95 south of Las Vegas. (David Becker/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
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FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2016, file photo, a small single-engine plane is parked just outside the Cal-Nev-Ari Casino in Cal-Nev-Ari, Nev. A mining company that serves the agricultural industry has acquired most of a tiny desert town with an aircraft landing strip near the state lines of California, Nevada and Arizona, a newspaper reported Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Universal Green Technology, majority owner of mining firm Heart of Nature, paid $8 million for Cal-Nev-Ari, a town with a landing strip off U.S. Highway 95 south of Las Vegas. (David Becker/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

CAL-NEV-ARI, Nev. (AP) — A mining company that serves the agricultural industry has acquired most of a tiny desert highway town with an aircraft landing strip near the state lines of California, Nevada and Arizona, a newspaper reported.

Universal Green Technology paid $8 million for Cal-Nev-Ari, a town off U.S. Highway 95 about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Las Vegas.

Property records show the sale by town co-founder Nancy Kidwell closed in late July, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday.

The sale of 550 acres (220 hectares) includes the unpaved airstrip, a motel, an RV park, a mobile home park, convenience store and the town’s casino and restaurant.

Kidwell, who is in her 80s, tried for years to sell her holdings in the remote desert outpost with well water and a cluster of homes.

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Universal Green Technology, Inc. is majority-owned by Heart of Nature. Company President Jerry Tyler told the Review-Journal that it plans to build a 100,000-square-foot (9,290-square-meter) warehouse to house its machines that make products for agricultural customers.

He said the facility would be across the highway from Cal-Nev-Ari homes and would not produce foul odors. The processing involves tree sap and almost smells like it’s baking bread, he said.

Tyler projected an increase in the Cal-Nev-Ari population, more homes for staffers, more restaurants and a larger hotel.

Kidwell and late husband Everette “Slim” Kidwell founded Cal-Nev-Ari in the mid-1960s, having noticed its then-abandoned airstrip while flying by.

The Kidwells acquired 600-plus acres from the federal government, named the town after its home state and the two nearby, and, as the Los Angeles Times reported, put in a sign that declared: “Cal-Nev-Ari, Population: 4. Watch Us Grow.”

The other two residents were their cat and their dog.

By 2010, the U.S. Census put the population at 244 people.

Slim, a flight instructor, died in 1983. A decade later, Nancy Kidwell married Verne “Ace” Kidwell, Slim’s son from a prior marriage. He died in 2011.