Board eyes industrial land buy

Written by Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer November 05, 2012 01:56 pm

During its regular session Wednesday, the Union County Board of Commissioner will resume talks on a proposal to purchase a block of large-lot industrial land in the Baum Industrial Park.

The board is considering borrowing some $745,000 in a move aimed at increasing availability of large-lot industrial land in the local area. The money, according to County Commissioner Mark Davidson and Union County Economic Development Executive Director Dan Stark, would buy 60 acres of nearly “shovel-ready” land at the Baum park on State Highway 82 near Island City.

There are few if any large-lot industrial parcels available currently in Union County, and UCEDC contends that puts the community at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting businesses that provide family-wage jobs.

Last month, Stark proposed the county borrow $445,000 from the Oregon Special Public Works Fund and $300,000 from UCEDC to buy the land. He said UCEDC, a non-profit corporation working to improve the county’s business climate, needs the county’s help to buy the land. Only public entities qualify for Oregon Special Public Works Fund loans.

The board set Wednesday as the date for more discussion on the proposal. Administrative Officer Shelley Burgess will bring loan documents forward and give a report on how the county would fund loan payments.

Wednesday’s meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. in the commissioners’ conference room at 1006 K Ave.

The industrial lands proposal discussion will take place following public comments, comments from elected officials, department heads and employees, and consideration of administrative matters.