Thursday, December 12, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
August 27, 2013
SHERIDAN -- Wallace Bridge, the equestrian center proposed to be built on 325 acres of land at the intersection of Highways 18 and 22, could plug as much as $254 million into the local economy each year, according to a study released last week.
The economic assessment study, completed by Portland firm ECONorthwest, which specializes in economics, finance and planning, also estimated it would cost $100 million to build the center, creating hundreds of temporary jobs.
Once fully operational and based on a schedule of four large multiple-day events and 87 shorter events, the center would generate $254 million on average per year. The center would create 246 full-time and 177 part-time jobs at the facility and indirectly support another 1,460 in the region and state, according to the study.
"It's huge," developer J.W. Milligan said last week prior to the study being released. "It's the biggest thing to happen in Polk and Yamhill counties."
Well, almost. The study estimates that $254 million per year is more than twice the income of Polk County's wine industry, but only 73 percent of Yamhill County's.
In order for the project to be completed, however, a conservation easement maintained on the property by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) would need to be modified.
Milligan proposed adding land -- which he believes is better suited for conservation -- to the easement in exchange for the property needed for the equestrian center.
NRCS denied that request in October. Milligan appealed the denial, which was accepted and heard in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Appeals Division.
Milligan and the NRCS are awaiting a decision in an appeal.
Milligan expects the decision to be issued in late September and is confident it will go his way.
"We will win," he said.
Wallace Bridge and the NRCS submitted closing arguments in the appeal last week. Wallace Bridge's rebuttal to the NRCS closing statements is due Friday.