PASCO -- The Tri-Cities are working together on how to diversify the local economy as community leaders prepare for Hanford job losses as cleanup work is completed.
That's what the mayors of Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and West Richland told more than 200 people attending the annual State of the Cities Address before the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco.
The mayors outlined infrastructure, recreation and beautification projects that could help attract jobs and tourists.
Pasco has been working to increase recreational activities, said Mayor Matt Watkins, noting the city finished renovating Memorial Pool last year and added two water slides, and citing the installation of architect Maya Lin's story circles in Sacajawea State Park last summer.
Kennewick and Richland have worked together to plan how to enhance Columbia Park west, which stretches from Edison Street to the Bateman Island boat launch and marina just east of Columbia Center Boulevard, said Kennewick Mayor Steve Young.
The plan suggests the one-mile stretch of riverfront should be home to the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and includes adding more waterfront access, more nature trails and a multipurpose performance venue.
Young said Kennewick also plans to expand the Three Rivers Convention Center in 2011 to increase the space available for events. That will help draw more revenue into the region as people from other areas come to the center.
Kennewick and the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership have been using a federal grant program to help businesses in downtown Kennewick create new facades and add artwork on downtown street corners, Young said.
Meanwhile, Richland is working to revitalize the Island View area and central Richland, and already is seeing new businesses come and established businesses expand, said Mayor John Fox.
The city also will add infrastructure in Horn Rapids Industrial Park and the Tri-Cities Research District. Fox said the city's goal is to help develop non-Hanford primary jobs that will benefit the region.
Pasco had a similar goal when it added infrastructure to open up about 400 acres along Highway 395 to attract industrial development, Watkins said. The Commercial Avenue project added a mile of road to connect with East Foster Wells last year.
Donna Noski, West Richland mayor, said the city is working on strategic planning for the next 30 years.
The city already has had property owners and the community help develop a vision of the Van Giesen Renaissance, a plan focused on improving and redeveloping the key corridor from the city's Yakima River Gateway to its Red Mountain Gateway, she said.
The Yakima River Gateway also will be the site of an enhancement project this year thanks to a $250,000 federal grant, Noski said.
The city will use $25,000 in local dollars for the project.
* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org