Reload center gets OK for grant to buy land

Terry Tate, with RailPros Field Services and Emily Ramos stand near the site of the proposed reload center as a train passes behind them.

NYSSA — Additional funding has been approved for development of the Treasure Valley Reload Center and planned industrial park which is planned to be located north of Nyssa, next to Gem Avenue.

Greg Smith, Malheur County Economic Development director, said Tuesday that the project has been approved for a special public works grant from Business Oregon. The expected amount is about $2.1 million, he said. Of this, only $500,000 is a grant; the rest is a loan. It will be used to purchase the property for the industrial development planned in connection with the reload center. This could be possibly used by firms interested in using the facility to ship out product.

Smith made the announcement during the Malheur County Development Corporation’s weekly meeting.

The extra funds, which are in addition to the $26 million appropriated by the Oregon Legislature for the reload center, were necessitated because none of the $26 million can be used for non-transportation items. This is because it comes through the ConnectOregon program, which funds transportation infrastructure projects.

The property in question is a 290.35-acre parcel of land next to the Union Pacific Railroad, and is owned by Warren Farmer and Jim and Margaret Farmer. The purchase of the property is not expected to be completed until early 2020.

In the meantime, negotiations between the reload facility operator and the shippers over rates for handling and storage will be started. These are expected to be completed next year.

RailPros Field Services which is designing and engineering the rail portion of the reload center and Anderson Perry for design of the rail layout and the reload center itself are proceeding with their work, Smith said. The firm will soon be reaching the 30% benchmark, he said, at which time Union Pacific Railroad officials will brought into the mix for the review.

In addition, design work on the reload facility will stop while Oregon Department of Transportation officials will review what has been done. If and when ODOT approves the work, the project will go out for final design and construction. Actual construction is scheduled to start in early 2021, to be complete in 2022.

Larry Meyer is a news reporter at The Argus Observer. He can be reached at (541) 823-4813 or by emailing larrym@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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