Letters notifying Van Giesen Street property owners that they are in violation of city codes will be sent out this week as part of the city's ongoing goal of improving one of West Richland's main roads.
Bob Leedy, director of the city's community development department, told the West Richland City Council on Tuesday that his staff has done a visual inspection of the 160 properties along Van Giesen from the bridge to 60nd Avenue and found 40 were in violation of city codes.
"Letters to the owners of those properties at the east end of the street will be going out this week, and we'll work our way down to 62nd this spring. I'm predicting we'll see some subtle, some marked, improvements to those buildings over the summer," he said.
Sprucing up the buildings along Van Giesen Street, improving the Yakima River bridge entrance to the city and convincing the state to add a new interchange to Interstate 82 to give access to the Red Mountain Center sooner, not later, are goals shared by many living in West Richland, according to city officials.
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"Some of those, in the case of the interchange, are still years away but I really expect to see something visual happen along Van Giesen this year," said Mayor Donna Noski during the annual meeting of the council and Benton Rural Electric Association trustees.
"Some business owners -- Ty's Tavern and JD Diner -- already have made improvements to their property," said Councilwoman Gail Brown.
Chuck Dawsey, general manager of the Benton REA, assured council members they can count on assistance from the utility.
"We'll help in any way we can," he said. "West Richland residents are members of the REA. We want to be supportive of our shared projects."
One suggestion was to use the utility's influence on the legislative level.
"As a privately-owned utility, we work in the political arena throughout the year," Dawsey said. "It's unique when you have a utility and a city working so well together. We're very much aligned in our joint vision for West Richland."