Pasco council sets goals at retreat

By Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldApril 21, 2014 

Demolition Lewis Street

April 7, 2014 - The Pasco City Council awarded a bid for demolition of buildings in the area of East Lewis Street and South Tacoma Avenue. The work is in preparation for the future Lewis Street overpass.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Pasco's top priorities in the coming two years will be landing more industrial development and improving congestion on Road 68.

The Pasco City Council met Friday and Saturday to create a list of goals for the city to tackle during its biennial retreat. The council then rated the goals.

The council plans to make the list official with a vote at a future meeting.

Here are the goals Pasco residents can expect their city to focus on:

1. Find more industrial development. The city wants to more aggressively market Pasco as a potential site for industry. It also wants to provide sewer to the Foster Wells industrial area, located along Highway 395 north of the Kartchner interchange. City Manager Gary Crutchfield said industry would improve the city's tax base, which lags behind Richland and Kennewick, without necessarily adding new people who will require more services.

Pasco wants to focus on bringing in more agriculture-related projects, such as the $2.3 million Grimmway Farms carrot processing plant that opened last year in the 250-acre Pasco Processing Center.

2. Improve congestion on Road 68. The city hopes to get approval from the state Department of Transportation to build a $500,000 dual right turn lane from southbound Road 68 onto Interstate 182 west.

It also wants approval to build a new interchange to relieve Road 68 congestion, either at Road 52 or Road 44 and to finish missing links for some of the side streets in the area, like Wrigley Drive, allowing for better alternatives to Road 68.

3. Build new police station, just east of city hall and the current station. To be completed and occupied by 2016.

4. The city wants to find a smaller senior center than its current 23,000-square-foot facility, which is more than the size of Richland and Kennewick's senior centers combined, said Rick Terway, Pasco's administrative and public services director.

5. Improve sewer services to northwest Pasco. The city wants to complete the $5 million first phase of its northwest sewer service plan, which includes two miles of trunk line.

6. Develop a parks and recreation plan. And implement the first phase of the plan's recommendations within two years.

7. Get a joint emergency communications center. The city wants to get together with Franklin and Benton counties, as well as Richland and Kennewick, to have a single public safety answering point for the entire area. Each county now has its own 911 dispatch system.

8 (tie). Department of Natural Resources property. The city wants to foster commercial development in the 412 acres the state Department of Natural Resources owns southwest of the Interstate 182-Road 68 interchange. The department is required to start giving up the property by next year. Pasco also wants to complete an extension of Chapel Hill Boulevard through the property.

8. (tie) Lewis Street overpass. The city is seeking state and federal funding to cover 85 percent of the project's costs, though the projected costs have risen to $31 million from $28 million in 2012. Pasco officials say the overpass is needed to replace an aging underpass that goes beneath railroad tracks.

10. Work on new animal shelter. Crutchfield said the current animal shelter, which is located in Pasco but the city shares with Kennewick and Richland, is "on its last legs and then some." The city wants to get commitments from the other cities and have a new facility under construction in two years.

11. Continue the "orderly" annexation of doughnut hole. The city wants to reduce the size of the unincorporated area surrounded by west Pasco in the next two years and bring it all into Pasco within 10 years.

12. Add gang prevention programs. It is trying to assist with programs that serve as alternatives to gangs. It is also looking for ways to improve its graffiti-removal program.

13. Oregon Avenue. Pasco would like to complete the first phase of planned safety improvements to Oregon Avenue. The project has run into snags, such as the transportation department requiring the city to build noise prevention walls.

14. Work on a one-way couplet for Lewis and Clark streets. The city wants to complete the design of a one-way couplet of Lewis and Clark streets, with the hope it will revitalize downtown business. It had originally wanted to change the direction of the streets as part of the Lewis Street overpass project, but is now considering moving the coupling up because of uncertainty of when the overpass would be built.

15. Work on neighborhood revitalization. Pasco wants to finish a plan to revitalize an area full of aging homes between Fifth and 10th avenues.

16. Work on waterfront plan. The city wants to continue working with the Port of Pasco on a plan to revitalize the Columbia River area between the cable bridge and Osprey Point.

17. Try to remove Marine Terminal railroad spur. Pasco wants to reach an agreement with BNSF Railway Co. and the port to remove an "unnecessary" railroad loop near the cable bridge, which city officials said serves only one business. The city would then plan to redevelop the area.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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