Rail project leaps over another hurdle with completion of appraisal

An appraisal of a 54-acre parcel set aside for a rail reload center determined it was worth $12,000 an acre. The appraisal was a key step forward for supporters of the project. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

NYSSA – An independent appraisal completed in October pushed the county one step closer to the construction of a proposed rail center.

The review, conducted by Jess Payne Appraisal Service of Idaho evaluated 54 acres reserved for the taxpayer-funded reload center north of town and concluded it was now worth $830,000.

The appraisal is key to the release of state money for the project. The state allotted about $600,000 for land as part of the $26 million rail reload venture.

The 54 acres, though, was already purchased by the county earlier this year as part of a 290-parcel of land formerly owned by the Farmer Family. The county borrowed $2.1 million from the state and dipped into its contingency fund to buy the entire parcel.

The acreage is not destined for the Treasure Valley Reload Center but will be used for the Malheur County Industrial Park.

The county will use the money it gets from the state for the land to repay part of the mortgage. That transaction couldn’t happen until the separate appraisal was finished.

The county paid about $10,000 an acre for the Farmer parcel and the appraisal reviewing the land as farm ground set the value at $2.050 million last year.

The new appraisal concluded the 54 acres was worth $12,000 an acre because the property is zoned for industrial use, but noted that about nine acres of the ground held no value because it is wetlands.

The rail reload center is designed for local onion producers to truck their product into where it will be loaded onto rail cars for shipment across the nation. The county has proposed at 60,000-foot warehouse as the site. State money for the project was set aside more than three years ago as part of a massive transportation plan approved by the Legislature.

Previous coverage:

Malheur County leaders mum as appraisal shows land value $1 million less than they agreed to pay

County taxpayers to be tapped nearly $1 million to buy Nyssa property state reports

Malheur County scraps one land deal as reload dates get extended

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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