The Odessa Record -

OPDA split on new tenant


November 9, 2017

The Odessa Public Development Authority met Monday evening in the hospital’s Guild Room to discuss a proposal that was made to the board at its last regular meeting. The proposal involves a cannabis production facility that would lease (with an option to buy) a vacant building in the Odessa Industrial Park that has stood empty for several years. Jim Gray, who is providing the financial backing and managerial expertise for the operation, said the facility would involve both indoor and outdoor growing facilities and would operate year round, employing in the neighborhood of 15 people, possibly more during the summer growing season. Gray is the stepfather of Levi Bridges, who wrote last week’s letter to the editor in The Odessa Record about his family’s interest in becoming part of the Odessa community and who made the initial presentation to the OPDA board.

When the board voted at its initial meeting with the proposed tenant on whether or not it wished to proceed with negotiations, the members were about evenly split, with about half being opposed and half being undecided or in favor. The suggestion was made to gather community input, thus leading to an ad published in The Odessa Record for two weeks inviting public comment and to a letter to the editor from one of the parties involved in the business requesting to lease the building in the industrial park.

At this Monday’s meeting, several members of the public attended to voice their concerns pro and con. All who wished to speak were allowed to express their views. Board chair Kim Ramm thanked all for their input and called a short break. Most of the members of the public left the meeting at that point.

The board continued discussing the pros and cons of the proposal, the public comments and their own roles as stewards of public funds.

A motion by board member Mike Edens called for the board to enter into negotiations with the proposed tenant, who is under time constraints regarding applying for the relevant license. If the final decision of the board is to accept the proposal, the groundwork will therefore already be in place. The board then went into executive session to have those discussions with the potential tenant.

A brief email from OPDA manager Stacey Rasmussen Tuesday said only that a tentative agreement had been reached.


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