Army Corps of Engineers scientists are enthused about the possibilities they can see in the rubble-strewn, eroding shoreline of Clover Island.
The team, which also includes engineers and architects, is working on plans on how to alter the shoreline to create better habitat for chinook salmon, steelhead and bull trout — species either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The goal is to have draft options to toss around this spring, with a final proposal ready to build by the end of next year, Port of Kennewick commissioners were told Tuesday.
The Corps, which will contribute up to $5 million to the shoreline project, plans to come up with multiple options for each section of the island’s shoreline, said Tana Bader Inglima, the port’s director of governmental affairs and marketing.
The port already repaired some of the shoreline, removing the concrete rubble and and replacing it with environmentally friendly basalt, trees and shrubs as part of an 863-foot walkway along the Columbia River near the new lighthouse and plaza in downtown Kennewick. The shoreline is undercut, either eroding or sloughing off into the river.
Port officials plan to earmark $500,000 of the 2015-16 capital budget for the port’s portion of the shoreline construction.
It’s critical to make sure the port is prepared to move forward on the project as soon as the Corps has construction dollars available, Bader Inglima said. It’s been an eight-year process to get Clover Island’s shoreline to the front of the line for funding.
Port commissioners came to a consensus on Tuesday on a $7.2 million capital plan for the next two years. Commissioners are expected to vote on the two-year plan at the Oct. 28 port meeting.
That would be $190,000 less than the conservative estimate of what port officials expect to have available from savings and property taxes over the next two years.
It also doesn’t depend on the $900,000 in land sales that port commissioners have approved, but haven’t closed.
Projects in the works for the next two years will include $3 million on Columbia Drive to jump-start Columbia Gardens, including three boutique winery buildings and a shell building for the city-funded winery wastewater pretreatment plant.
The port also would save up to $150,000 to help the city of Richland expand parking at Badger Mountain, up to $50,000 for branding work that will tie into the Tri-City wide effort, and $200,000 for the next steps to redevelop Vista Field after the current master planning work for the former airport is completed.
Commissioner Skip Novakovich opposed spending any money on branding, but Commission President Don Barnes and Commissioner Tom Moak said it’s important to be participate in the branding project started by Visit Tri-Cities, the Tri-City Development Council and the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The top priority project to pay for with land sale revenue would be $1.3 million for an arts development building on Columbia Drive, as part of the Columbia Gardens boutique winery development. That project is dependent on partnerships with other community organizations, officials said.
The plan is to remodel the building at 211 E. Columbia Drive. Larry Peterson, the port’s director of planning and development, said the project would help give the development credibility.
Second priority among the unfunded projects is saving $1 million toward Vista Field infrastructure.
Tim Arntzen, the port’s executive director, said the port isn’t going to be able to pay for the roads, utilities and public amenities needed to get Vista Field going. He thinks it will take about $4.5 million to get in the game, which is doable for the port.
“I don’t think the port can fund all of the infrastructure at Vista Field by banking money,” Barnes agreed.
In general, the port has seen more revenue than expected and less expenses than predicted, said Tammy Fine, the port’s finance director and auditor.
Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@