Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Hawkins development: County will seek $18.1 million in state funding to develop sites"

Another myth debunked. The infrastructure being built for Hawkins will not just be for Hawkins. That whole area of the corridor will become a revenue development area.

Joe Smillie provides a nice breakdown of what everything is going to cost in the article below.

From yesterday's Whitman County Gazette:
County commissioners Monday set a price tag and scope of work on infrastructure improvements at Boise-based Hawkins Companies’ proposed stateline strip mall.

A public hearing has been set for June 16 on the formation of a revenue development area where such projects will be built.

Commissioners last week defined the boundaries of the development area, a requirement in applying for a grant from the state’s Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT) program.

The county will ask the state for a total of $18.1 million. That money will be spent on projects within the boundaries of the development area.

In February, commissioners committed to funding up to $9.1 million for infrastructure at the Hawkins site.

Commissioner Michael Largent told the Gazette Tuesday that the development area is meant to encompass more than just the shopping center.

“The economic opportunity is not limited to Hawkins,” said Largent. “There are existing businesses there that we would dearly like to retain and make sure they thrive.”

For that reason, he said, the development area spans from the Idaho state line to the Airport Road on the west, and from Hawkins’ northern boundary to just south of the industrial complexes of Wilbur Ellis, McGregor Fertilizer Co. and Busch Fuel’s plant south of the Moscow-Pullman Highway.

Biggest ticket item on the list is the $5 million in interest that will accrue when the county issues bonds to fund the improvements.

Commissioners hope the state will grant enough funding to cover the cost of those bonds.

The LIFT program can grant any single entity up to $1 million a year for the next 25 years. Total funds available statewide each year is $2.5 million.

Construction of “Marketplace Boulevard,” the street running through the shopping center, and the extension of A street from the Idaho state line to Airport Road is expected to cost $3.47 million.

Improvements to ease access to State Route 270 are expected to cost $3.6 million.

Those projects include the construction of a frontage road on the south side of Paradise Creek for trucks from McGregor and Busch distributors, bridges over Paradise Creek and the Bill Chipman trail to link the frontage road to the highway and installation of traffic lights at the shopping center entrance.

Largent said ensuring trucks from those companies have safe access to the highway is high on the county’s list of priorities.

“The highway has created some problems for those companies,” he said. “There’s a lot of big trucks coming in and out of there.”

The frontage road may also help attract new companies to the area south of the highway, he added.

Drilling two wells, installing water lines, fire hydrants and a water tank is expected to cost $3.22 million.

Though Hawkins has made a deal with the city of Moscow for water, that deal is still pending approval from the Idaho Department of Water Resources.

A $2.5 million sewer treatment facility is also on the list. Hawkins’ deal with Moscow for water did not include treatment of sewage by the city.

Construction of sidewalks, street lights and a connection from the development to the Chipman trail added $250,000 to the estimated costs.

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