NASELLE - At a public forum at the Naselle Youth Camp on Oct. 30, Sen. Sid Snyder, D-Long Beach, said funding for purchase of RealVest Corp. property in the Beards Hollow area is in the upcoming state budget.
But whether the funding will be become a reality is still up in the air, particularly with Snyder leaving office by January.
Snyder's announcement that he actively pushed for funds to purchase the RealVest property will come as good news to all those who fought against the proposed land swap last summer in Long Beach. The land swap involved the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the city of Long Beach and RealVest Corp. of Vancouver, which is headed by Paul Christensen.
The land swap was designed to trade off a 41-acre parcel of conservancy-zoned property owned by State Parks adjacent to the Bolstad beach approach for a 48-acre parcel of oceanfront property in the Beards Hollow area owned by RealVest. The original land swap agreement also included a 45-acre parcel of upland Beards Hollow property, also owned by RealVest.
After intense public outcry, the city of Long Beach decided to pull out of the land swap deal in late July, essentially pulling the plug on the land swap. Shortly afterward, Snyder pledged his support to seek funding in order to help State Parks purchase both the RealVest property in Beards Hollow.
Snyder said on Oct. 30 in Naselle that at the present time the governor and the Office of Financial Management staff are putting together a budget together and that any money for the purpose of purchasing the RealVest property will be in the capital budget.
"I look for that money to purchase that property for State Parks to be in that budget," said Snyder. "I would imagine it'll be about three-quarters of a billion dollars that we will be able to bond for. I have talked to Marty Brown and he assures me that money's going to be there." Brown is director of the state's Office of Financial Management.
The cash price of RealVest's propery in Beards Hollow is still to be negotiated. Informal estimates have pegged its value in the range of $750,000 to $1.5 million.
Snyder spoke of the serious budget constraints that the state is currently facing prior to addressing the funding for State Parks to purchase the RealVest property.
Snyder said the state is facing a budget shortfall in the range of $1.5 to $2 billion, but he said he is confident the money will be there for the property purchase.
Long Beach City Administrator Nabiel Shawa said he thought Snyder's continued pledge to have the money available for the purchase of the RealVest property is "great news."
"We look forward to working with State Parks and the Legislature in getting the property purchased and bringing it in the public domain for people to use," said Shawa.
The Legislature reconvenes on Jan. 13, so it will not be known until after that date if the money for the RealVest land purchase will be available.
RealVest owner Christensen said this summer he will actively pursue development of his Beards Hollow property in lieu of any offers to purchase it.