Business

Port of Pasco seeks ideas for waterfront site

PASCO — A waterfront restaurant, condos and water-related recreation facilities were among the ideas discussed Thursday by the Port of Pasco for developing the former marine terminal site near the cable bridge.

Port officials and consultants from Seattle-based Makers architecture and urban design met to brainstorm about the area.

The company recently was hired by the city of Pasco to prepare a plan for the rivershore area east of the cable bridge that includes the port-owned but decommissioned terminal, and the adjoining marina and private property. The port, which owns about 60 acres, will pay two-thirds of the $50,000 being paid to Makers for the study.

The planning process is intended to be incorporated into the city's comprehensive plan.

The study is the first step to know what stakeholders and the community want before formal planning can begin, said Jim Toomey, the port's executive director. The port and the city are open to ideas about possible development scenarios, he said.

The consultants are trying to get input from officials and those who live or do business in the area, said Julie Bassuk, a partner at Makers. They are excited about developing the waterfront in a way that enhances the value of the area, she said. "Everybody loves the riverfront."

A proposal to build homes with underground garages can be considered, said Port of Pasco Commissioner Jim Klindworth. It would prevent direct exposure to any petroleum remnants on the property, he said.

The port's property, which in the past served as a marine terminal to offload liquid petroleum products including fertilizers, is in the final stages of a cleanup operation.

It'll be good to get the site back on property tax rolls, said Sam Good, the port's director of properties and development.

The port may consider on a case-by-case basis requests from developers to sell parts of the property, Klindworth said. But the project must be geared to promoting jobs and economic development and not for speculation purposes, he added. For the port, public access to the area is important, he said.

Bassuk said as she and her team gather more information, she would have more concrete ideas about the best use for the area.

The city of Pasco got 14 responses from 44 questionnaires it sent out to neighborhood residents. A community meeting is planned in March. The company will come up with draft recommendations in the next few months.

-- Pratik Joshi: 509-582-1541; pjoshi@tricityherald.com; Business Beat blog at www.tricityherald.com

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