Pateros may expand business district

Area entrepreneurs already showing interest in land

— The city may turn an unused landfill into a commercial and recreational area on Starr Road, about two miles south of town, and it has already generated some interest from business owners.

The idea hasn’t quite reached the planning stage yet, according to Parks Supervisor Jord Wilson.

“Basically, what it looks at is, is it something the city needs? Does the city need more commercial property, and is it feasible for the city to do it?” he said. “It is purely conceptual.

“It’s just something that we’ve done in-house to get the grant process rolling. It’s something that council is interested in and thinks it’s a good idea.”

“We have 16.6 acres of property out there, and we annexed it into the city limits, and we’re just looking at it to try to utilize it to benefit the city,” Clerk/Treasurer Kerri Wilson said.

The city has received a $24,000 planning-only grant and just submitted the paperwork for a $50,000 grant from the Community Economic Revitalization Board, she said.

“There’s so many stages to the project, and the very first stage is planning. We have to pay engineers to do that,” she said. “It’s a process that takes time and money.”

Both grants are awarded through the state Department of Commerce.

Part of the funding will be used to investigate whether the water is viable for commercial use, as well as to determine if infrastructure such as streets and electricity are needed, Jord Wilson said.

The city also hopes to find water containing less manganese, a mineral found in higher concentrations in some parts of the town. Manganese is found in all water, but higher amounts can turn water dark.

With its need for more space, the Public Works Department has its eye on possibly moving to that property.

In the past, the city has looked at the current public works area as a site for a boat marina and RV park.

An RV park could be on the horizon, and the locally owned Rocky Pointe Landscaping has already indicated interest in building a construction yard and outdoor storage there.

The City Council has accepted a proposal from the company to lease one acre of that property for 10 years.

“The council approved it, but because it’s still in the planning stage, they’re not leasing yet,” Jord Wilson said. “It’s being treated as an intent to lease.

“We have two or three people that have expressed interest in leasing the property, or a small piece of the property, for commercial business.”

If the city receives the revitalization grant, Jord Wilson estimated the planning process could take at least one year.

The landfill is slated for closure in about four to five years, he said.

“I think that probably the most important thing is it’s really conceptual,” he said. “It’s just an idea, and this planning process is really going to help the city determine whether it’s a viable project or not, and in which direction to move.”

Kerri Wilson said the city will schedule several public hearings before any projects are approved.

According to the Okanogan County Assessor’s Office, the property is valued at $42,400.


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