Sunday, May 26, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
January 22, 2013
DALLAS -- J.W. Millegan, the man behind the vision for a world-class equestrian center in Polk County, is doubling down.
Instead of giving up his plans for the 325 acres he owns near the intersection of Highway 22 and Highway 18 after his conservation easement modification request was denied, Millegan is now trying to broaden support.
In October, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) declined a request to modify the easement, which seeks to protect critical habitat for two threatened or endangered species on the land.
Needing the modification to build the center, called Wallace Bridge, and believing his proposal is an improvement to the current easement, Millegan filed an appeal. It was accepted by the USDA's National Appeals Division and a hearing is scheduled Jan. 31.
Meanwhile, Millegan has searched for another site for the center -- he even listed the Wallace Bridge property for sale -- but wasn't able to find an alternate location.
"That doesn't exist," he said. "This is it."
Now he's seeking the official support of the easement from two local soil and water conservation boards. The Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District Board voted to support the modification Jan. 9 and Millegan is scheduled to present his case to the Polk Soil & Water Conservation District at its February meeting.
Millegan said he hopes local boards still will back his cause, despite the NRCS easement modification denial.
"The board represents the people of (Polk County), not the federal government," Millegan said. "Their support is important."