The 10-year anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect upon the successes and less happy events surrounding the Hanford Reach National Monument.
More importantly, it's a time to look to the future, beginning with the Richland City Council's meeting tonight. The city's oversight has never been more crucial.
The community was somewhat divided from the outset over questions of governance. Advocates on one side sought local control over the Reach, others wanted federal protection and Native Americans dubiously watched the unfolding events.
The first and greatest success came when members of a local group that wanted federal protection won over President Bill Clinton, who designated the Reach a national monument.
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That's the 10-year mark we're celebrating.
That was the high mark for Rich Steele and Rick Leaumont, two of the most avid proponents of saving the Reach.
They escorted governors and senators -- plus anyone else they could dragoon who might play a role in saving the Reach -- on tours from Priest Rapids past the White Bluffs to North Richland.
The original group included members of federal, state and county government, Native Americans, environmentalists, recreation enthusiasts and the general public.
From the beginning it was known that tribal involvement and approval was crucial to protection of the Reach at large and development of the evolving idea of an interpretive center as a centerpiece.
Eventually, a site was selected for the Reach Interpretive Center at Columbia Point, with the initial idea of having Native Americans develop a reconstructed village along the shore.
Despite the likelihood of tribal protests, Columbia Point remained the favored site for the museum, and Richland formed a Public Facilities District to gather money for construction and operations.
Contracts for management and exhibits were established, and the public was treated to displays and drawings of the envisioned facility.
A director was hired, a capital campaign fundraising committee was formed to supplement the millions of dollars of federal and state money raised by members of the early, pre-PFD committee, which evolved into the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center Board.
Some Hanford contractors have kicked in with big checks. So far, about $26 million has been raised, out of an estimated $40.5 million needed to complete the project.
Efforts to close that gap continue, but mostly behind the scenes. An event last week drew well over 100 community leaders, including some of the Tri-Cities' top philanthropists. Their continuing interest in the project is a good sign.
However, continuing rifts among Reach insiders aren't helping the cause.
Relations between the Reach board and the PFD are strained, and progress on renewing a contract detailing responsibilities of the two agencies is glacial.
The Reach board has been marginalized as a result, leaving the PFD and the executive director in sole charge.
A decade after the Reach was established, the start of a fundraising campaign for the general public still is in the talking stage.
And, of course, the likely location of the interpretive center itself has been moved because, as expected all along, the tribes objected to Columbia Point as a location because it's a culturally significant site.
After 10 years, what's next?
Some of the undeniable sense of inertia will remain at least until a site is selected, and maybe even until construction begins.
But more dynamic involvement by the Richland City Council and PFD members could help long before then.
Tonight, council members will be interviewing four candidates for two openings on the PFD. All are top-flight, but the Reach is in dire need of some fresh ideas and new energy.
Whoever is selected must have the ability to challenge the Reach management, ask tough questions and provide meaningful oversight.
They also will need the skills to fix the relationship between the PFD and the Reach board.
This ambitious project ought to be bringing the Tri-Cities together. It holds enormous promise as both a showcase for visitors and a gathering and learning place for the community.
It is a grand idea, and we would love to see not just protection of the Reach but also construction of a suitable facility to tell the story of the Ice Age floods, Kennewick Man, Native American history, the pioneer days and Hanford.
We'd especially love to see it before the next 10-year anniversary.