Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It is apparent to anyone with an eye on the numbers, TVCC Caldwell project is not going nearly as well as the proponents had hoped. The college is now down to four days of operation, serving a mere 500 students. The coffee shop operator has bailed and it remains to be seen who will take over a food operation in the building that cost taxpayers $100k.
TVCC can't even afford to pay full rent on the building. They pay rent on half of the structure and get to use the whole building. It works out to about $5 and change for each square foot per year. They even got a million dollar furnishings allowance from CEURA as a gift from Caldwell taxpayers. To add insult to all of this TVCC is sending 20% of the gross revenue collected in Caldwell back to Oregon while they rearrange the deck chairs on this sinking ship.
TVCC in downtown has not brought any discernible increase to business activity downtown Caldwell based on an informal poll of downtown merchants. In fact, there is even less going on in downtown now than at any point in the history. We have heard from several sources the State Probation and Parole Offices are about to be vacated in downtown in the near term for a move to Edmark Plaza area of Caldwell.
Canyon County along with a host of other taxing districts got the short end of property tax spending from Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency. THE GUARDIAN was discussing with a friend what the future for downtown Caldwell will be when TVCC pulls the plug and bails on the downtown project. The idea of Canyon County taking over the building for county business functions rose to the surface in this ideation discussion.
Canyon County is the second largest county in Idaho and Caldwell is the County Seat. What a great use for the TVCC building downtown Caldwell if ownership were to be transferred to the County. All of the county administrative functions (business functions along with the Elections and Passports Office) could move to downtown Caldwell. They need the space and taking over the TVCC white elephant building would satisfy county office needs well into the future.
If a deal could be worked out between CEURA and the County Commissioners the current courthouse at 1115 Albany could transition into a Justice Center for the County. Much needed courtrooms could be installed where county admin. offices previously existed. The County could shut down the Nampa Annex and sell off that property to the highest bidder. The County Commissioners and County business functions would bring people, jobs and demand for other services back to our downtown. The new digs would be a site and address that would be a first rate location for county administrative functions. Plenty of parking, a good location, and easy access for all county citizens to conduct their business.
This is just some thoughts on the TVCC white elephant project for folks to think about and consider before it becomes Caldwell's Idaho Center type urban renewal failure. We see the TVCC effort not going anywhere due to the lack of interest with only 500 students and no ability to expand. It is also a redundant effort and expense to Canyon and Ada county taxpayer supported College of Western Idaho.
The TVCC building is 39,000 square feet of office space Canyon County could use immediately if given the green light. Oregon, like Idaho does not allow for long term leases that go out beyond one budget cycle. With the economy and cuts in tax revenue we do not see a rosy future for TVCC in Caldwell.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 10:31 AM