I called this last week. Not only is Moscow going to quash any Pullman-Moscow corridor development by Whitman County, it is going to stop Pullman from developing in the corridor as well. As tempting as it is to chant "Four more years!!" for Queen Nancy and drive all the businesses across the border into Washington, she and the Aquinuts are really becoming a pain in the ass. Notice the hypocrisy. Mark Solomon has repeatedly stated that municipal water is the way to go in the corridor. The airport reservoir proposal by the Pullman City Council would have done just that, versus the well that the Hawkins Companies is proposing. No dice. It has nothing to do with water. It's all an excuse. From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Airport board adopts Plan B in regard to reservoir
Group informally selects smaller reservoir to provide water in case of fire
Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney doesn't want any misunderstanding when it comes to her stance on water.
Chaney, who also serves as vice chairwoman of the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Board, said the Palouse's water needs to be preserved, and that's why she balked when she was presented with the concept of constructing a reservoir that would provide fire flow to the airport and water for future development on the Pullman-Moscow Highway.
She said the idea was a "shielded proposal" to provide for development, not a sound solution to the airport's water woes.
On Wednesday, the airport board considered ways to solve inadequate fire flow to the airport, which has put any proposed construction of airplane hangers on hold. Fire codes require that 3,500 gallons of water per minute be accessible for up to two hours on the airport property.
A Pullman Public Works Department proposal to build a $2.7 million, 600,000-gallon reservoir to serve the airport and potential growth in the highway corridor was recently denied by members of the airport board. The water would have been provided by Washington State University and piped to the airport through Pullman water lines.
Mel Taylor, an airport board member and Washington State University executive director of real estate operations and external affairs, said the university will not supply water for any kind of development in the highway corridor.
"We can't offer our water for commercial use," he said. "We won't, the university won't, get into the business of selling our water for commercial use. The only thing it can be used for is fire flow."
Instead, the board informally accepted Plan B, which is a $1.5 million, 420,000-gallon reservoir to be built along the north side of Airport Road. If approved, the reservoir will provide water solely for fire flow through a system of hydrants along the airport property.
"It's really important that we provide fire flow to the airport," Chaney said. "That was how it was originally presented."
Board members will report back to their respective entities for discussion of the project. The concept was presented to the Pullman City Council May 22 and informally approved. The board is made up of representatives of airport stakeholders, which include the cities of Pullman and Moscow, WSU, the University of Idaho and the Port of Whitman County.
Airport Manager Robb Parish said he hopes the project moves along quickly, adding that the fire-flow problem needed to be corrected "yesterday."
"From an airport perspective, I don't care what the solution is, as long as there is one," he said.
Parish said he was pleased with the project's headway and noted the airport board is working efficiently as an entity.
"It's pulling the group together to solve a problem, and it's working," he said.
One concept for funding the fire-flow project would be to replace the current 20-year bond for the terminal and terminal improvements, which expires in 2008, with a new 20-year bond for fire flow. The idea has been discussed, but no action has been taken by the airport board.
Exactly which jurisdiction will pay for the water, maintenance and other costs has not been decided.
"Right now, we're kind of in a concept phase," Parish said. "But I think the concept is a good one."
Parish said the timing for the project is good, as the board is currently reading amended airport interlocal agreement drafts, which will provide clarification about the board and provide ease of reference on operation, management and obligation issues.