Duffy's Pond, a 10-acre retention basin east of Clover Island Drive south of the Columbia River, would have walking paths, pedestrian bridges and a natural preserve for public enjoyment if Port of Kennewick officials are allowed to develop the property the way they want.
Port staff told Kennewick city officials Tuesday that the pond and its weedy peninsula, known as Catfish Island, could be important in creating a new look and image for the Columbia Drive business district between the cable and blue bridges.
Tana Bader Inglima, the port's director of governmental relations and marketing, said the port is willing to pursue improving the pond, but first needs the city's cooperation so the port can sublease the pond property.
The city controls the site under a master lease with the Army Corps of Engineers.
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Port consultant Steve Mallory of Arculus Design of Kennewick presented the vision for Duffy's Pond, which has been neglected for years and become a dumping ground for old tires, busted furniture, bed mattresses and other debris.
The port already owns most of the property along Columbia Drive near Clover Island, which is adjacent to Duffy's Pond, and has been preparing for a major redevelopment of the city's old commercial district.
Duffy's Pond is a major element in what the port wants to accomplish along the river front.
"There is huge potential here," Mallory said at the council's infrastructure committee Tuesday.
The city has developed a trail system that approaches the pond at both ends, and constructed a small 2-acre park near the levee where Sacagawea Trail follows the river.
Bader Inglima said the port's proposal for the pond would provide the essential connectivity for the trail system.
Mallory described expanding the pocket park, building a gazebo and creating a network of trails on Catfish Island that would be accessible by pedestrian bridges.
The trails would be suitable for art walks that link Columbia Drive, and would feature tribal art and observation decks, he said.
"By bringing public improvement to the pond, this will be a catalyst for the whole area and help commercial activity," Bader Inglima said.
City Manager Marie Mosley said the port's vision for Duffy's Pond did not appear to need any city investment other than staff working with the port, Corps and tribes.
The full council will consider the port's request Feb. 28 during a city council workshop, Mosley said.
Bader Inglima noted that public interest in Duffy's Pond has increased since last year when dozens of volunteers helped remove a large amount of trash from the pond.
That same group, which participated in last year's ShareFest event, has agreed to return for more cleanup at the pond at the March 24 event, she said.
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