Our Voice: Pasco City Council sets good goals but broader vision needed

April 28, 2014 

Cinco de Mayo file 5_1_04pte

Cinco de Mayo parade in downtown Pasco

TRI-CITY HERALD FILE

Goal setting is a good practice.

For most, the problem lies in achieving the goal. The best laid plans, as they say, are often waylaid by the daily workings of life or business.

We were intrigued to see the recent draft list of goals produced at the Pasco City Council's biennial retreat.

Though the list will be made official with a vote at a later date, the current rankings show the top priority is to bring more industrial development to town. Industrial development would help the city's tax base -- which lags behind neighboring communities -- while not burdening city services with additional residents. Agricultural projects fall into this category as well.

Easing congestion on Road 68 also comes in near the top of the list. In addition to adding another turn lane, the city would like build another freeway interchange either at Road 52 or Road 44 to try to divert traffic from Road 68.

Other priorities include the kind of general improvements you'd expect, such as a new police station, downsizing the senior center, creating a parks and recreation plan and adding gang prevention programs.

Some specialized goals include working with the counties and cities to create a joint emergency communications center, providing a single point of contact for 911 calls rather than the fractured system that now exists.

Work on a new animal shelter and the continued "orderly" annexation of the west Pasco doughnut hole make the short list, with further action expected on both in the next two years.

Tied for eighth in the goal rankings are the Lewis Street overpass and 412 acres of Department of Natural Resource property southwest of the Interstate 182/Road 68 interchange.

The DNR is supposed to begin releasing the land next year. The need to replace the deteriorating Lewis Street overpass has long been discussed but the $31 million price tag has kept that project from happening.

Safety improvements to Oregon Avenue also make the list, and we think that's a great move. Fast-moving traffic there has resulted in many horrible accidents.

The list is packed with worthy projects but plans to revitalize downtown need to be a higher priority. A proposal to change the direction of traffic on Lewis and Clark streets, and some revitalization of homes between Fifth and 10th avenues touch on the area, but there is so much more to be done.

The Downtown Pasco Development Authority has some great new energy and ideas. The council singled out its building facade program and revitalization plans in general as worthy of support. But its work needs to be a bigger part of the city's overall goals.

Bringing downtown back to its glory has been a long time in coming and the right folks are finally in place to make some progress.

The city council needs to look at the city as a whole and make sure all its parts are getting the attention they deserve. It's a good list but before it becomes official, input from the community and a broader view would be warranted.

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