Badger Mountain South development to shape Richland's future, officials say

By Sara Schilling, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 28, 2014 

Badger Mountain South

Workers move dirt Tuesday at the Badger Mountain South, a large master plan community being developed in South Richland.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The 1,500-acre Badger Mountain South mixed-use development is taking shape in Richland -- and it will play a role in shaping the city's future.

When completed, the development is expected to have 5,000 housing units and about 15,000 residents. It also will feature shops, restaurants and other commercial offerings, schools, health care facilities and 400-plus acres for trails, parks and open space.

The development will bring revenue to the city, but also mean greater demand on city services, which Richland officials are preparing for and in some cases already glimpsing.

Badger Mountain South represents about 6 percent of the city's total area and it impacts every aspect of city services, said Bill King, deputy city manager, during the city council's workshop meeting Tuesday night. The session included an update on the development and input from several city department managers, from energy services, parks and public works to police and fire.

They touched on roles their departments have played so far and what they expect in the future when it comes to the development and the area.

Police Chief Chris Skinner, for example, said south Richland has challenging geography when it comes to providing police services "and we need to pay attention to that and get strategic about how we're going to (provide services) as we grow."

Badger Mountain South is being developed by Tacoma-based Nor Am Investment at Dallas Road and the Interstate 82 interchange.

The design is based on principles of walkability and sustainability, a report from Nor Am said.

The first homes are going in and the first retail project -- a Country Mercantile location -- is expected to be done this summer.

The development has hit other milestones, ranging from $10 million in private investment in infrastructure to development of a master plan for the Veneto Villaggio area that's to include the Country Mercantile and other offerings, from restaurants and shops to vineyards and housing. The developer also is working with Kadlec Regional Medical Center on a master plan for a 45-acre site within Badger Mountain South envisioned as including health care facilities, senior housing and related development.

"There are lots of very, very exciting things to come with Badger Mountain South," said Loren Combs of Nor Am Investment.

Also Tuesday, the council talked briefly with Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins and John Givens, both members of the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District board. Representatives from the regional group are visiting the city councils and public facilities districts in Richland, Pasco and Kennewick to provide a report and gather input on a path forward following the defeat last year of a sales tax increase for a regional aquatics facility.

w Sara Schilling: 582-1529; sschilling@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @saraTCHerald

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