An analysis shows it would cost $40 million of Port of Kennewick taxpayers' money to enlarge Vista Field to make it the Tri-Cities' third-largest airport. All for a very small niche market segment.
The Columbia Center area will continue to be a "hot" market, from the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center on the north, past the developments at Tapteal in Richland and south to 10th Avenue in Kennewick. With additional linkages of Steptoe and Center Parkway and expansion of the Convention Center, this area becomes even more valuable. For this reason, Vista redevelopment makes good economic and good common sense.
I fly out of Tri-Cities Airport-- because I'm a passenger, as are the 99 percent of the people who use airports and pay taxes to the Port of Kennewick. To help aviation to thrive and regional economic activity to develop as a result of it, my money would be on making the Tri-Cities Airport continue to succeed and not go the way of Walla Walla or Yakima airports with too few choices of airlines and connections.
Vista Field, with improved linkages to the convention center and retail districts, should be redeveloped to provide enhanced regional economic and community development. Let's make it happen!
-- THOMAS MOAK, Kennewick