Betabel Road Project for Pediatric Cancer Research. Photo provided by Rider McDowell.
Betabel Road Project for Pediatric Cancer Research. Photo provided by Rider McDowell.

This column was contributed by Rider McDowell, creator of the Betabel Project. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

Rider McDowell and his wife Victoria are zealously endeavoring to cure pediatric cancer, an insidious disease which claimed the life of their oldest son Errol, 18. They have devoted their lives to raising desperately needed funds to empower pediatric cancer researchers who, they believe, are close to a cure.

The McDowells are the creators of the, a future vintage roadside park, which is completely owned by their charitable trust. Every penny of profit from this family friendly mini “theme park,” goes towards pediatric cancer research. When the McDowells die, all proceeds from the sale of the property go to pediatric cancer research.

After enduring weeks of rumor and “targeted lies” disparaging the truth about their charity project, the McDowells mailed out a flyer detailing the facts about their project along Highway 101 at Betabel Road.

“It was shameful the lies being spread by the founders of PORC about our charity project,” the McDowells said. “We know they don’t represent the majority of people in San Benito County. We realized it was time to set the record straight and tell exactly what we were proposing on Highway 101 and why.”

The McDowell’s flyer was mailed out to 20,000 residents of San Benito County and can be viewed at

The McDowells chose the Betabel site because of its beauty and potential. Their first step was to consolidate the three separate properties. They then removed over 20 acres of junkyards, buildings, cars, refrigerators, tires, abandoned RVs, trailers inhabited by gang-affiliated drug dealers, two chop shops, an illegal hashish yard, and more, reclaiming the land and restoring it. It is on this same land where they are proposing to build their vintage-styled project, providing essential jobs and services for the residents of San Benito County as well as much needed tax revenue for the county. They have also begun a major clean up of the Pajaro River and have designed an extended river walk and picnic areas for the public. The McDowells support the newly approved county C3 ordinance, which allows for only four highly regulated commercial nodes in all of San Benito County along Highway 101.

“Without the ordinance the entire Highway 101 corridor along San Benito County is potentially open for commercial development,” the McDowells said. “This is a fact which detractors of the new zoning are not admitting to, yet it is the truth.”

The McDowells advise any worried county residents to reach out to the county supervisors or county attorney and hear the truth first hand. They hope the people of San Benito County welcome their modest charity park, which will also do much to promote and introduce people to the beauty of San Benito County.