Transforming a gravel lot on Clover Island into a mixed-use waterfront development may get a kick start next year.
Port of Kennewick commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved hiring Herath & Associates for up to $75,300 to design boardwalk and related improvements for the Village at Island Harbor.
The boardwalk and plaza improvements will be part of the 1.25-acre mixed-use development on the south side of the island between Ice Harbor at the Marina and the new Clover Island Yacht Club.
The project will feature bronze statues depicting members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. They will show a modern-day grandson and a grandmother meant to represent the tribe of 200 years ago, said Barb Carter of the Kennewick Arts Commission.
Tribal members modeled for the statues and were involved in making sure they are accurate.
The two statues will be harvesting tule reeds, which is part of why the tribes wintered near Duffy's Pond and in the general area, Carter said. Those reeds were dried and made into mats.
Rodd Ambroson of Joseph, Ore., was hired by the port in 2012 to create the bronze sculptures, which will cost less than $85,000 including installation.
The two statues and reeds will be installed along a dry stream bed and pond along the boardwalk, Carter said.
The art will be a tourist attraction and something the port can be proud of, said Tana Bader Inglima, the port's director of governmental affairs and marketing.
"This may be the finest artwork ever installed in the Tri-Cities," said port Commissioner Skip Novakovich.
Several buildings are planned in that area, but the shoreline improvements need to happen before the port can really market the sites to private developers, said Tim Arntzen, the port's executive director.
The improvements likely will be built in multiple phases beginning next year, said Larry Peterson, the port's director of planning and development.
The total project may cost $550,000, including the boardwalk, plaza and informal stage, a kiosk and the water features for the artwork area, Peterson said.
Also Tuesday, port commissioners unanimously approved hiring Meier Architecture Engineering of Kennewick to design the remodel for the port's Vista Field Development Building A for up to $81,500.
The building's main tenant is Bruker Elemental, which makes diverse X-ray fluorescent instruments that can make sure the metal alloy in an airplane wing meets safety standards and can help a museum determine how to preserve artwork.
Bruker and the port committed to improving the 25-year-old building, at 415 N. Quay St., in the most recent lease agreement signed in 2013, Peterson said.
The remodel was postponed because Bruker added employees because of growing sales and wanted time to hire Meier to determine how the remodel would best function for the company.
The remodel of the 30,000-square-foot office and research and development space will remove some of the interior walls to make the space more flexible for current and future tenants, Peterson said.
The jobs at Bruker are highly coveted, non-Hanford and nonagriculture jobs, Commission President Don Barnes said. They are exactly the kinds of jobs port officials want to create and nurture.
Construction likely will cost about $625,000, Peterson said.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; email@example.com