A consultant's report evaluating four proposed regional facilities district projects will be considered next week as the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District board prepares to pick one.
It is the last step before the board decides -- possibly later this month -- what project Tri-City voters should consider when voting on a sales tax increase next year.
The 36-page report examines the costs and expenses, potential revenues and community support for: a $35 million aquatics center, a $36 million performing arts center, $14.5 million to help build the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center and $15 million to add an exhibit hall at the Three Rivers Convention Center.
E.D. Hovee's report also looks at whether the ballot measure should ask voters to approve a 0.01 percent regional sales tax increase or twice that amount.
The four proposals, as summarized by Hovee, are:
w A 61,000-square-foot Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, to be built in two phases at Columbia Park, west of Edison Street. The project cost is estimated at $43.4 million, but would require only $14.5 million from the facilities district.
w A great hall expansion of 46,000 square feet at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
w An aquatics facility to be built at Pasco's TRAC center, with 28,000 square feet of indoor swimming and a 90,000-square-foot outdoor water park. The facilities district would fund the entire $35 million project.
w A performing arts center consisting of two theaters with seating for 2,500 and 300, at a total cost of $36 million, to be provided entirely by the facilities district.
Hovee said a 0.02 percent regional sales tax for Pasco, Richland and Franklin County could nearly cover the combined cost of all four projects at nearly $100 million.
Or, there could be a combination of projects, such as the aquatics and performing arts center with either or both of the interpretive center or convention center projects.
The 0.02 percent regional sales tax increase would pay for about $85 million in bonds over 25 years, while the 0.01 percent regional sales tax would support about $39.5 million, the Hovee report noted.
Hovee concluded that each of the four projects are viable.
w The convention center expansion is poised to go with a developer's commitment to build a hotel, and expansion design plans expected to be ready by the end of the year.
w The interpretive center project "appears possible" with a phased construction plan.
w Prospects for the aquatics center have improved with the proposed reuse of TRAC, which provides the missing location.
w The performing arts center project, which Hovee called "the most challenging," has improved its possibilities by proposing to partner with the Kennewick Public Facilities District on locating the theaters near the Three Rivers Convention Center.
Hovee's report said bids on one or more project could be issued as soon as seven to eight months after an election, which likely would have construction starting in 2014.
The regional board meeting, which is open to the public, is set for 5:45 p.m. Wednesday at Richland City Hall, 505 Swift Blvd.