Infrastructure improvements, economic development, partnerships and quality of life continue to be Kennewick's building blocks for creating a great place to live, work and play, while ensuring a vibrant future.
-- Infrastructure: Cities do not create jobs. However, they play a key role in providing a strong infrastructure that businesses need to flourish. Kennewick continues to be effective in securing grants to match public and private contributions for infrastructure improvements.
Projects completed in 2009 include:
-- 4 million-gallon reservoir and pumping station
-- Final phase of the water treatment plant upgrade project
-- Reconstruction of Ranney Collector Well No. 5 to meet all regulatory requirements and further increase water capacity
-- Fourth Avenue rebuilt from Union Street to Columbia Center Boulevard
-- Hansen Park playground and restrooms
City council decisions investing in the construction and maintenance of our transportation network coupled with improvements to our water and waste water systems, have paid dividends and provide growth capacity for years to come.
-- Economic development: In 2009, the city council identified the Southridge area, where 60 percent of Kennewick's future growth is forecast, as the focus of future infrastructure needs. We were successful in securing $12.5 million in funding from the state for this project, through the Local Revitalization Financing program.
Completion of transportation and utility corridors from Highway 395 to Gage Boulevard, including construction of Steptoe and Hildebrand avenues, along with a street network west of 395 and a sports field complex, will set the stage for increased private investment. These improvements will assist KGH with infrastructure necessary for their new Southridge facility.
These infrastructure improvements will be completed without raising taxes.
-- Partnerships: Partnerships are crucial. The Port of Kennewick, Benton County and Kennewick General Hospital all stepped forward to partner with the city on the Southridge Revitalization Area and help secure the $12.5 million state LRF funds.
The fire administrations of Kennewick, Richland and Benton Fire Districts Nos. 1 and 4 have co-located in Kennewick. They have collaborated on fire station location, development of standardized specifications of equipment, auto aid for quicker response of units closest to the emergency and coordination of special operations teams.
Kennewick partnered with the Port of Kennewick on the walking path, public plaza and public art on Clover Island, where the port is making big improvements.
Kennewick and Richland are working jointly on master planning for the west end of Columbia Park and records management. The cities continue to look at additional areas for collaboration.
-- Quality of life: The Windermere Theater is a wonderful enhancement to the Toyota Center. Completed just in time for the Kenny G concert, it provides a great experience for patrons of the arts.
During 2009, more than 500,000 people went through the doors at the Toyota Center and Three Rivers Convention Center, for such events as the girls state high school volleyball tournament, WSU Cougar basketball, Ron White, Heart, Larry the Cable Guy, Americans hockey, Fever football and much more.
A major factor in quality of life is safety. For the third straight year, Kennewick's crime rate was the lowest since 1994.
-- Kennewick 2000-09: Kennewick and the Tri-Cities have benefited from significant changes and accomplishments over the past decade. A brief list of some of those improvements includes:
-- Three Rivers Convention Center opened
-- Naming rights to the Coliseum secured by Toyota of Tri-Cities
-- Downtown Revitalization progress
-- Completion of the new police station
-- Columbia Park enhancements
-- Emergence of public art
-- Amazon.com opened
-- Columbia Center Boulevard at-grade railroad crossing
-- Veterans Memorial dedicated
Kennewick has come a long way in the past 10 years, and we will go even further in the next decade.