A Tri-Cities Fever defensive back plans to open a sports complex for kids next to Vista Field.
Lionell Singleton and a group of investors plan to build a sports building and outdoor fields for a Fit for Fun-Plex in Kennewick.
Singleton and the investors agreed to move the soccer and football-orientated complex to the other side of Vista Field so it won’t be in the way of a proposed road that officials say is critical to the redevelopment of Vista Field.
Port of Kennewick commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a land swap with Singleton. The port will get his 4.2-acre property next to Ben Franklin Transit’s Three Rivers Transit Center on Okanogan Place and $350,000, while Singleton will receive around 10 acres at Deschutes Avenue and Quay Street.
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Officials determined that would be a fair and equitable trade that also preserves the ability to extend a road from Vista Field’s runway to the existing two-lane road that runs through the Benton County Justice Center complex, said Larry Peterson, the port’s director of planning and development.
“This is in the best interest of not only our project, but the whole economic development of this particular area,” port Commissioner Tom Moak said.
A draft plan for the redevelopment of the 113-acre site calls for improvements to make it easier to travel between Vista Field, Columbia Center Boulevard and Canal Drive.
An entertainment district centered around the performing arts center and near the Three Rivers Convention Center also is in the plan. That district would include restaurants, cafes and night life. Residential areas also are part of the proposal, which was drawn up last month based on a week of interactive community workshops.
Port Executive Director Tim Arntzen praised Singleton and his partners for being community-minded and willing to work with the port on the land swap. The group already was in the permitting and pre-application process for the property adjacent to the transit center.
Singleton told port commissioners he wants to create a place where children can be safe and have fun. He said the land swap will allow for larger sports fields.
He said he hopes the facility will be able to help kids in the community that he has called home for the last four years.
Singleton may be best known in the community for creating a mentoring program called After School Matters, which provides tutoring and athletics for students at Eastgate Elementary and Park Middle schools in Kennewick, and Jefferson Elementary School in Richland. Singleton said he wants to expand the after-school program to Pasco schools in the future. That program is in partnership with Richland’s Hillspring Church and is separate from the Fit for Fun-Plex.
The Fit for Fun-Plex will offer opportunities for kids and adults that are needed in the Vista Field neighborhood, as plans call for some residential development, Arntzen said. The project also will add jobs.
The port will need to pursue a zoning change and a boundary line adjustment before the sale can close, Peterson said. The zoning change to allow the sports complex would need to go before the city planning commission and Kennewick City Council.
Port officials plan to turn the necessary paperwork in to the city by the end of the week. They expect it will take at least three months for the public process involved in the zoning changes.
The agreement includes assurances the redevelopment of Vista Field will not negatively affect Singleton’s new property.
A small triangle of the property is being reserved in case a roundabout needs to be built at the intersection of Quay Street and Deschutes Avenue, Peterson said. That was determined to be the most the property would be affected. A roundabout is not proposed at that intersection.
Singleton will pay the port in annual payments based on a 20-year loan, but is expected to pay off the entirety in seven years. Interest is set at 6 percent.