Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Bonding idea shows promise for corridor plan"

In land navigation, you orient yourself and figure out where you are standing by looking at what's around you. The same goes with politics.

To all of you Hawkins development skeptics and opponents, I realize there are still unanswered questions and the bonding proposal is not 100% risk free. But what great accomplishment has ever been obtained without risk? Do you want to be on the same side as CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) people like Chris Lupke, Don Orlich, Janet Damm, Cheryl Morgan and the Liberal Women Voters?

From last Saturday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
It's getting closer now.

Corridor development in the past few years has gone from a subject for casual conversation to that for serious discussion.

The planning stage is next and, to that end, one of the latest ideas has positive economic potential for Whitman County and the region.

Boise-based Hawkins Companies plans to build a 700,000-square-foot retail center in the corridor along the border with Idaho.

Hawkins officials have proposed the center's infrastructure be paid by $10.5 million worth of bonds sold by the county. The money would pay for a well water system, roads, sidewalks and a sewer system. Hawkins also has stated it will build a fire station for District 12.

The resulting public-private partnership would have Hawkins constructing the infrastructure and the county purchasing it back at a predetermined price.

That's a sound idea.

Development in the corridor has been stymied by the lack of available water and sewer hookups. To extend those services from Pullman would cost millions per mile.

Most developers and business owners can't afford to foot that kind of bill, and Moscow thus far has not indicated an official willingness to sell those services across the state line.

For the past few years much has been debated about how to proceed with economic growth on the Palouse: some want to control it, some want to encourage it and still others want to find a middle ground.

The Pullman-Moscow corridor will be developed - it's just a matter of time.

Hawkins Companies has the ability to see its development to fruition. The result will be that economic boom many look for in the terms of jobs, tax revenues and money spent on the Palouse.

There are many hurdles left in the process and more opportunities for the public and entities to share input. The dialogue should be extensive - surprises tend to alienate people, and we all know what transpires when that happens.

Nothing is perfect. The bonding plan has a slight risk but such projects rarely fail. And this is a risk worth taking.

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