This property on Graham Boulevard has been annexed to Vale to clear the way for a new RV park. (AUSTIN JOHNSON/The Enterprise)

VALE - A proposed RV park at Vale’s west end could become a hub for weary travelers, bringing new customers to local businesses in Vale.

For now, the plot of land hosts ankle-deep grass, bugs and a drainage ditch.

The Vale City Council recently approved a change in zoning for a 19-acre vacant lot at the corner of Graham Boulevard and Ash Street. The rezoning opens the property to a variety of uses while the city also approved annexing it into the city limits.

The proposal submitted to the city by Geo Investments of Vale outlines a potential RV and campground that includes some permanent homes.

Mayor Tom Vialpando looks forward to the possibility of accommodating travelers along Highways 20 and 26, and putting Vale on the map for popular travel sites.

“It’s been 20 years since we annexed any property,” Vialpando said. “It’s great to see something that will benefit the city economically.”

After the vote, Geo Investments sold the land to Merritt Family Trust. What will happen to the property will become clearer as owner Brent Merritt submits business proposals to the city.

“Until he submits a plan, it’s kind of open.” Vialpando said.

Merritt said that an RV park is the current goal, but there’s still a lot to settle first.

“We’re working with an engineer now,” Merritt said. “We don’t have a lot of plans right now, and nothing’s definite.”

He added that he would like to include barns for travelers with animals, hoping to entice people seeking respite between Boise and the coast. The proposal also included park restrooms and showers, tent camping and public areas.

“It’s a nice town,” said Merritt, who is based in Melba, Idaho. “Hopefully it’ll help the city grow, too, and help with food and gas purchases for local businesses.”

The Merritts also run a farm in Adrian.

Kit Kamo, the executive director of Snake River Economic Development Alliance, said that an RV park could be a relief for the area’s housing shortage. She said temporary workers and travelers often have to live outside the city they work in.

“As soon as somebody moves out, there’s a waiting list of 30 people,” Kamo said.

The RV park, she said, would benefit as part of a longer-term plan to provide housing as the city waits for new apartments and condos.

News tip? Contact reporter Abbey McDonald at [email protected]

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