The possible closure of a portion of Goethals Drive in Richland got a step closer to reality Tuesday night.
The city council gave a first reading to a right-of-way vacation ordinance during its regular meeting and it passed through without any objections.
The council is expected to take another look at the ordinance -- and make a final decision -- next month.
Mayor John Fox noted that if final approval ultimately is given, the affected stretch of road wouldn't close right away. Kadlec Regional Medical Center, which made the request, first would have to build a new city street between Jadwin and Gillmore avenues.
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The hospital would pay for the Goethals right of way at fair market value, which could total more than $210,000, according to information presented to the council.
The portion of Goethals that would close is about 465 feet, stretching almost from the emergency room entrance to just south of Dr. I-Yen Yang's office. Patients still would be able to access that office.
Kadlec's campus today covers about 11 acres, but Kadlec officials want to expand it to the east, on the other side of Goethals. The council held a public hearing on the right of way vacation earlier this month, and about 20 people -- both for and against -- spoke.
Numerous written comments also have been submitted.
More information about the proposal is available at www.ci.richland.wa.us.
-- The council, with members Brad Anderson and Bob Thompson absent, decided against phasing in community gardens at the small park at Barth Avenue and Comstock Street after several neighbors spoke up in opposition.
About a dozen residents addressed the council during the meeting, with many saying the park is well-used and they don't want to see a loss of play area for kids. Some also listed concerns such as a possible negative effect on property values.
Community gardens can be wonderful additions to parks, "but obviously based on the negative feedback we've received regarding the selection of Barth for this activity, I think it's appropriate for us to send the question back" to parks staff and the Parks and Recreation Commission to find a alternative spot, said Councilwoman Sandra Kent.
David Rose, the mayor pro tem, said the city should find another location "where people will be standing in line, welcoming this."
After the meeting, Shelly Scott, who lives near the park and spoke during the meeting, said she was satisfied with the council's action.
"I think they made the right decision, definitely, for the neighborhood," she said.
-- The council gave final approval to an ordinance annexing 137 acres in the Reata Road area.