Some property owners are wondering how much Pasco will pay for properties in the path of the Lewis Street overpass.
More than 40 people affected by the proposed project listened to an explanation of the purchase process during a Tuesday public meeting.
The city plans to buy the properties between Second and Tacoma avenues and Clark and Lewis streets for the $31 million project, which will replace the aging Lewis Street underpass.
The St. Vincent de Paul Society's food bank is one of the affected properties.
The society needs to know the city's offer, the level of relocation assistance and the timeline for moving out before it can pursue a new food bank, said Bob Wlaznak, the nonprofit's president.
It needs time to raise money and apply for grants to pay for a new facility, he said.
It's easier to get funding for a project when the land is secured and the timeline is known, said Linda Hermann, St. Vincent de Paul Society secretary.
James Prossick, vice president of HDR Engineering Inc., said the company will work with each property owner on the moving timeline. Pasco hired HDR Engineering for the land acquisition and relocation process.
"We would not try to force anybody out earlier than needed for the project," he said.
Construction is a ways off. The final design won't be complete until June 2011, and it may take the city years to find funding for the project, said Stan Strebel, Pasco deputy city manager.
The city intends to obtain $10 million each from the state and federal governments and use $5 million in city dollars to pay for the remainder of the project.
"It's not going to be built July of 2011," Strebel said. "I can pretty much guarantee that."
The 25 properties in the path of the overpass include Llamas Furniture, La Jalpita, Trading Post Pawn Shop, Tortilleria Valparaiso and Baja Import and Auto Parts.
Pasco's New Life Apostolic Church at 116 W. Clark St. owns five of the properties within the footprint, including the church, and four parcels of undeveloped land, according to county property records.
Appraisals for the properties are being reviewed, then the city will approve an offering price, Prossick said.
Property owners would be able to receive up to $50,000 in re-establishment costs, which could be used to bring a building up to city code, for example, said Marco Vargas, HDR Engineering relocation agent.
And the owners can have the city hire a moving company for them or pocket that money and move themselves, he said.
The Pasco food bank isn't sure where it will move yet.
"We've looked," Wlaznak said. "We haven't found any existing buildings."
The nonprofit found a property it would like to buy, but BNSF Railway has not indicated if it would be willing to sell, he said.
And other properties don't have the correct zoning or are on the outskirts of the city, he said.
The food bank has the challenge of needing to close after one Wednesday and open in a new location the next week, Wlaznak said. Its clients, which can include 700 families in one week, can't go months without the food bank's services.
Without the food bank, those families likely will go to the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission, said Byron Brooks, men's services director. And the mission won't have the capacity because its main food storage and maintenance buildings also are on the city's purchase list.
Brooks said the mission still hasn't found a new location for that part of its operation.
The city council will discuss the design concepts and footprint of the project at the July 26 council meeting, Strebel said. On Aug. 2, the council will consider an ordinance that would allow purchases to begin.
That ordinance will allow the property owners who willingly sell to receive the same relocation and tax benefits that they would if the property was condemned, he said.
If negotiation is not successful, the council will consider condemning the property for public use, Strebel said.
HDR Engineering would start making offers about a week after the council authorizes the purchases, Prossick said. The goal would be to acquire the property within 90 days.