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Turtle Bay land swap proposed

By Mike Mangas
Published On: Jun 20 2013 08:13:26 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

There's a new wrinkle in the proposal to build a hotel and restaurant at Turtle Bay Exploration Park.

At a special Redding City Council meeting on Thursday afternoon, a new proposal was made by the McConnell Foundation: a land swap.

The back story: Turtle Bay wants to build a hotel and restaurant as a revenue source, to keep the park and museum viable.

The state has ruled it a prevailing wage job. Turtle Bay officials say that would price them out of the project. But if the McConnell Foundation could buy property from the city where the hotel would be built, it would no longer be subject to prevailing wage. Labor unions are demanding that a fair market price be paid.

City manager Kurt Starman said last Friday, the McConnell Foundation proposed trading 80 acres it owns near Clear Creek Road for 14.1 acres at Turtle Bay, plus any money it would take to make up the difference in assessed value.

The hearing lasted almost 3 hours, with a steady stream of speakers both for and against any proposed deal between McConnell and the city.

Council members voted 3-2 (Patrick Jones and Gary Cadd dissenting) to continue to negotiate with the McConnell Foundation for land, or cash, or both, to try and get the project built.