Richland council signs off on Swift Boulevard land sale agreement

Tri-City HeraldApril 2, 2013 

The Richland City Council on Tuesday night gave its blessing to a purchase and sale agreement for a roughly half-acre strip of city-owned property in the central business district.

The land is home to an underutilized public parking lot. A local businessman owns adjacent land and has redevelopment plans that include the parking lot property.

Greg Markel has said he envisions three new buildings. A building with a drive-thru restaurant would go on land north of the parking lot property, with two other buildings tentatively planned for the parking lot site.

The parking lot is at the northwest corner of Swift Boulevard and George Washington Way, in an area the city long has viewed as prime for redevelopment.

Markel still has to sign the purchase and sale agreement.

Bill King, deputy city manager, said the sale could close in 30 to 60 days.

“We think it’s going to be very positive,” he said after Tuesday’s council meeting.

The council last month approved declaring the parking lot land surplus. The council Tuesday authorized the city manager to execute the purchase and sale agreement with Markel’s Washington Securities & Investment Corp. in a 7-0 vote.

The city would be paid $115,500 for the land under the agreement. The company also would contribute $20,000 for public art at the redevelopment site.

Also Tuesday, the council approved a master plan for a neighborhood park on the southeast corner of Westcliffe Boulevard and Gala Way.

The park doesn’t yet have a name.

Two neighborhood meetings were held to gather input and the city also consulted with the Richland School District, which plans an elementary school in the area.

“The master plan for the unnamed park includes features such as berms, meadow grass, trees and a water element taking advantage of the groundwater table in the area, as well as standard turf grass on the south portion of the park for organized sports,” according to information from staff provided to the council. “A playground structure, gazebo, and walking path are also part of the plan.”

The information says “this year’s park development will include irrigation, turf/grass and trees. The playground structure will be installed next year.”

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