$1 million cleanup cost delays credit union’s entry into Moscow

Kent Oram

MOSCOW — An unanticipated $1.5 million cleanup of hazardous substances has delayed the opening of an Idaho Central Credit Union at the former Quad Cities Nissan dealership on West Third Street in Moscow.

A new building for the branch on the site is now expected to be complete in the spring instead of in November.

“It slowed us down in time, but not in desire,” said Idaho Central Credit Union CEO Kent Oram.

Crews found fuel tanks buried underground, including some that had leaked, and removed them, along with contaminated soil, Oram said.

Railroad ties and other debris were also discovered under the surface and disposed.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality asked that test wells be installed on the property so DEQ officials can monitor the contaminants.

“It was unexpected I would say, but not disastrous,” Oram said. “But that’s all over with, and now we’re working toward construction.”

The credit union’s persistence in finishing the project demonstrates its dedication to increasing its presence in north central Idaho. It was virtually unknown in the region until January 2018 when it won naming rights for the University of Idaho’s new basketball arena with a $10 million donation.

When confronted with the expense for the Moscow branch, Oram said ICCU officials faced the decision of walking away from the property or continuing to build. They chose to push forward.

Construction of the 5,000- to 5,500-square-foot credit union building should start soon, Oram said, with pouring of the concrete foundation a few weeks away.

It will have environmentally friendly features such as recyclable materials in the structure and energy-efficient lighting and insulation.

Its location is on a sweeping curve as motorists heading east first hit West Third Street from Pullman Road within blocks of the arena. Quad Cities Nissan operated the site from 2015 to 18, and Ambassador Auto and Ambassador Subaru owned the property prior to that.

“Of course, based on our commitment to the University of Idaho with that arena that’s going up, there’s no way we walk away,” Oram said.

The UI broke ground on the $51 million ICCU Arena on the north side of the Kibbie Dome in June, and it is expected to be completed by fall of 2021. The 62,000-square-foot arena will have a capacity of 4,200 and will be built almost entirely of Idaho-grown wood.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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