The West Richland City Council received what Councilman Richard Bloom called a "shopping list of tools" for economic development at Tuesday night's meeting.
Jason Robertson of Olympia-based J. Robertson and Co. went over the results of a community survey his company did for the city, which asked residents what their priorities were for West Richland in the coming years.
"The No. 1 response," Robertson said, "was more jobs at all wage levels, closely followed by bringing in new businesses to generate more revenue for the city and reduce residential taxes."
Today, West Richland residents are invited to a community town hall meeting to hear the results of the survey, what opportunities the city has to raise money to pay for the improvements and offer feedback to city officials. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. in the commons at Enterprise Middle School, 5200 Paradise Way.
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There will be a brief presentation about the survey, then participants will be asked to break into groups to discuss what they learned. The breakout sessions will be facilitated by members of the city's economic development board and city staff who will note the recommendations of each group and provide a report to the council.
"I'd like to hear what the city has to say about development," said Mayor Pro Tem Rich Buel.
One area of the city that more than half of those surveyed want to improve is Van Giesen Street to make it more attractive to shoppers, businesses and tourists.
Asked which part of the street to focus on first, 53 percent of those surveyed chose the Yakima River gateway, 45 percent were for the Red Mountain center at Keene and Van Giesen streets, and 37 percent wanted to see the intersection of Bombing Range and Van Giesen streets improved first.
Residents also are interested in expanding shopping and dining opportunities.
"The Economic Development Board has directed the council to spend money on the city, just not so much we bankrupt us," said Buel. "They're ready for action."
Councilman Brent Gerry agreed, saying, "We're ready to act on what the majority of the citizens want."
Robertson's presentation to the council also included specific ideas on development, including attracting boutique retail shops, wine tasting rooms and wineries and advanced technology firms.
"Many advanced technology businesses are little more than small labs that typically require flex industrial space with an office component," Robertson said.
West Richland is ideal for these research and development businesses because the city has a lot of land and it's generally less expensive than comparable space in other nearby cities, Robertson said.
The full survey is available on the city of West Richland website, westrichland.org. Click on 2011 Survey Results Presentation on the right side of the screen.