Connell -- Officials are hoping a study and a new access road will help them attract development to the Connell Industrial Area.
Both projects should be in the works within the next year, thanks to two grants recently awarded to Connell.
The city received a $34,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to pay for an industrial area master plan and economic feasibility study.
Connell recently issued a request for qualifications for consultants to complete the study. The application deadline is July 29, said Steve Taylor, Connell city administrator.
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The study will help identify what types of industry the 30 acres the city owns in the area could support and what additional infrastructure would be needed to attract those businesses, Taylor said. That will help the city market the property, he said.
Connell needs to determine which industries would want land in a rural area near a major highway, said Randy Hayden, Port of Pasco director of planning and engineering.
The property is unique and is virtually ready to go in terms of infrastructure, he said.
The city-owned property in the Connell Industrial Area east of Highway 395 was a city waste water treatment site that Taylor said the city already has remediated. The property is ready for industrial development, and there is more than 200 privately-owned acres bordering the city's land.
The study also could help the city obtain infrastructure grants for the industrial area from the Economic Development Administration, Hayden said.
The Port of Pasco will provide $17,000 for the $68,000 study, he said. The remaining $17,000 will be paid by the city of Connell.
And a $50,000 grant from the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund will help the city extend an access road from Garfield Road to the southwest corner of the 30-acre industrial site, Taylor said.
There already is a 40-foot access easement to the industrial area, but Taylor said the city hopes to create more of a gateway to the property as well as better access.
Taylor said the engineer's estimate for the project was about $100,000. City staff will attempt to find another grant to cover the rest of the project, or the city may use local dollars.
The effort is important to help attract more jobs and diversify the city's economy, Taylor said. The largest industry in Connell is the ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston plant. Agriculture, Coyote Ridge Corrections Center and the North Franklin School District are among the largest employers.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org