West Richland is a community that not only offers a unique lifestyle but also has economic offerings. With the booming growth of the Red Mountain AVA, the wine industry is proving to provide West Richland with an opportunity to capitalize on a multimillion dollar industry.
In August 2016, the city completed the construction of a $3.1 million Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant (I-Plant). The plant has the ability to treat and process water/wastewater from not only wine production facilities, but also from breweries, distilleries and creameries. We are very proud to have been awarded the 2016 Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council (IACC) Capital Facilities Project of the year for the I-Plant project. Before this project was completed, Crimson Wine of California purchased property at Red Mountain Center and started construction on a $6 million wine production facility for their Double Canyon label. Red Mountain Center is also home to Black Heron Distillery and Sugar Horse Cellars.
The Richland School District also sees a bright future for West Richland. Construction of the new Leona Libby Middle School at Belmont and Keene is coming along and will open this fall for the 2017-2018 school year. The school will employ approximately 90 teachers and staff members, and it is anticipated 800 students will be enrolled at the new middle school. The new school will relieve the pressure of overcrowding at Enterprise Middle School. The city and the district also partnered on the construction of a 10-foot wide asphalt pathway from Willowbend Street to Belmont Boulevard. The new pathway will be constructed this spring and will provide safe pedestrian and bicycle access from the neighborhoods south of Keene Road to the new middle school. In summer of 2016 the Richland School District also purchased 70 acres adjacent to Leona Libby Middle School for the next high school in the Richland School District.
With the continued growth of our city, we have outgrown our city campus. Construction is coming along well on the new Municipal Services Facility located at Belmont and Keene that will house both the engineering and maintenance divisions of the Public Works Department, Community Development and Building Department, Finance Department, Administration and City Council chambers. The new council chambers was designed to be a multi-use facility with the ability to host events such as town hall meetings, training sessions and seminars.
With the construction of the new city campus, the city council is excited to market the Belmont Business District, which has the capacity to support an estimated 60,000 gross square feet of commercial floor area. This will also open up opportunities to market the existing maintenance shop facility and city campus to increase economic development, since it is considered prime commercial real estate.
The Yakima River Gateway is another exciting project underway in West Richland. This project serves to acquire land for a trail and riverfront park development with water access amenities along the Yakima River including walking, biking, fishing, swimming and picnicking along with parking and public restrooms. The city solicited bids for the project and in November awarded the project to Moreno & Nelson of Walla Walla. The anticipated completion date in the fall of 2017 will provide enhanced recreational opportunities along the Yakama River for all.
As mayor, I am honored to lead a committed city council as they concentrate on their strategic focus areas while delivering on their goals and objectives, and I am proud to lead a talented senior staff and their committed teams. I am excited about what 2017 will bring for our residents and businesses. There are many exciting projects and opportunities that will increase the quality life in West Richland.
Residents and visitors have seen our Hogs and Dogs, Veterans Day Parade, Time of Remembrance, Harvest Festival, National Night Out, sports events and festivals in our city parks grow and become more popular year after year. I am proud of the foundation of cooperation and civic pride that has been a trademark of our city for many years. The city is also fortunate to have so many community partners like the West Richland Chamber of Commerce, Benton REA, Port of Kennewick and Mid-Columbia Libraries who give so much toward providing the wonderful quality of life that we enjoy in our community.
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