Here is something to think about! Do we need the Port of Kennewick if Vista Field is closed? We currently have in Benton County the Port of Benton who could easily absorb whatever minimum Port of Kennewick activities that would be left. (Remember they recently got rid of their light rail.) According to RCW 53.04.01, ports were created for the following explicit public purpose.
"(1) Port districts are hereby authorized to be established in the various counties of the state for the purposes of acquisition, construction, maintenance, operation, development and regulation within the district of harbor improvements, rail or motor vehicle transfer and terminal facilities, water transfer and terminal facilities, air transfer and terminal facilities, or any combination of such transfer and terminal facilities, and other commercial transportation, transfer, handling, storage and terminal facilities, and industrial improvements."
If the Port of Kennewick closes Vista Field, are they getting rid of the only activity they are involved in that meets the above criteria. Clearly we do not need a public agency (the Port of Kennewick) in the private development business. Leave that to private developers who want to risk their own money.
The port needs to get back to the business they were created for and to realize that air traffic is not a thing of the past but transportation for the future. Let us not limit the potential economic growth Vista Field will bring to the community. Vista Field is a valuable essential public facility that provides for air search and rescue, air ambulance service and access to our community by a large and diverse group of public and private users who need a place to take off and land. To be a strong and growing community, we need the air access that an airport brings. We need to keep and improve Vista Field airport for the future good of our community.
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One last point: Currently there is a lot of undeveloped land around Columbia Center. If there is such a demand for commercial and retail space, why are these properties still vacant?
-- JACK BARTON, Kennewick