Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains the latest development in the agreement between the county and the developer.
This 200-acre plot of land is owned by the Hawkins Companies, it's located off Highway 270, right next to the Idaho state line. For years the Boise-based company has been trying to develop it into retail space.
"They are committed to staying in this area, and they're committed to this project," said Whitman County Commissioner Dean Kinzer.
In 2008, the Whitman County Commissioners signed an agreement that obligated the county to funding over $9 million of the project. That agreement was amended in 2012, adding $6 million to the county's commitment, bringing the total to roughly $15 million. The commissioners that backed the agreement are no longer in office, but that contract is still on the table.
"The signatures are on the line from previous county commissioners, and we have to honor those," said Kinzer. "So it's going to be a challenge."
Whitman County Commissioner Dean Kinzer said the board met with the developer for the first time on Monday.
"There's no question that all the commissioners would like to see the development go in, but we want to limit the risk to the county as much as possible in the process," said Kinzer.
Kinzer said at this point, there aren't any tenants committed to opening up shop, and there's still no word on when construction will start. But on January 30th, the first amendment to the agreement will expire and lessen the financial burden on the county.
"So we're back to the $9 million commitment at the point," said Kinzer.
The shopping center on the Hawkins Property would include about 700-thousand-feet of retail space. Groundbreaking on the project will depend on commitments from future tenants.