Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent was gracious enough to send the following response to my earlier post on what is holding up Hawkins breaking ground in the corridor. I agree with Michael's assessment below that the rumors are wrong and that delays are inevitable with any project.
You are indeed correct in your recent posting that nature abhors a vacuum. The fact that Hawkins hasn't brought in the earth movers in June as earlier hoped and has not said when they would begin major earth moving has fostered speculation as to as to the viability of the project. However, if we don't know why they didn't start in June we should just say we don't know.
Commissioner Greg Partch's comments in Friday's Moscow Pullman Daily News suggesting the national or regional economy may be to blame is simply his speculation. My personal speculation differs from Greg's in that I believe the regional economy remains strong for this project. However, national credit markets have posed additional requirements for Hawkins requiring them to get much further along with their tenant commitments than earlier anticipated before they can have their financing package in order to begin major construction.
The fact remains that we will know the reasons for the delay for sure when Hawkins either begins major construction or tells us something different. In the meanwhile, Whitman County isn't out any money on infrastructure until Hawkins shows us the anchor tenant lease and construction benchmarks are met. The County is protected from the inflationary effects of a time delay by the capping of the County's total infrastructure investment.
What is clear is that the City of Moscow is not behind any of the delay. The one issue we have pending with Moscow on this project is the question of the delivery of water to the project. The timing of the resolution of this issue is not related to whether Hawkins can begin construction or not. The City of Moscow has been nothing straightforward with us since the election of the new council and a pleasure to work with. We may not always agree but it is now a respectful working relationship.
If in fact the project itself is in danger I would like someone to explain to me why there are construction rigs at the site right now preparing to drill a well at considerable expense. While construction delays are frustrating, this project is going to happen.
Whitman County Commissioner