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It’s not built yet, but Vista Field already is a state winner

The 800-seat Vista Arts Center, center top, will anchor the Port of Kennewick's 103-acre redevelopment plan. The port released conceptual drawings by Chris Ritter showing a charming mix of parks, pavilions and plazas. The port hopes to begin building roads and other infrastructure for the first phase this fall.
The 800-seat Vista Arts Center, center top, will anchor the Port of Kennewick's 103-acre redevelopment plan. The port released conceptual drawings by Chris Ritter showing a charming mix of parks, pavilions and plazas. The port hopes to begin building roads and other infrastructure for the first phase this fall.

Construction on Vista Field has yet to break ground, but local governments already are being honored.

After four years of planning the revitalization, the port and city of Kennewick were recognized by Washington’s Department of Commerce and the Governor’s office Tuesday morning.

Mayor Don Britain and Port Commission President Thomas Moak accepted the 2018 Governor’s Smart Partnerships Award for their collaboration throughout the early stages of the restoration project.

The city won the award last year for their planning work along Columbia Drive and the urban wine village.

2018 Governor’s Smart Partnerships Award.
Mayor Don Britain and Port Commission President Thomas Moak accept the 2018 Governor’s Smart Partnerships Award. Rachel Fradette

“Today, we look over Vista Field and we can see first hand the tremendous potential,” Britain said.

The mayor boasted the success of Southridge’s revitalization, and said he believes Vista Field has the same opportunity for economic gains.

“We are hopeful that future legislation will provide an opportunity to accelerate the transformation of our city in the Visa Field area,” Britain said.

Chain link fencing surrounding the former 103-acre Vista Field Airport in Kennewick will no longer be needed as the Port of Kennewick and City of Kennewick move forward with the Vista Field Redevelopment Master Plan. The plan calls for converting

In 2014, the port closed the municipal airport because of financial woes, including a lack of money from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The port and city have plans to make the area a walkable mix of businesses and homes, with a large arts center.

If the plan comes together, it would give the Tri-Cities something it lacks right now — a modern downtown.

“This is a big project,” Moak said. “It takes more than just what our own little resources can do ourselves.”

Moak said the public’s input throughout the process of developing the plan was indispensable, helping keep everyone on task, including elected officials.

“Sometimes government and elected officials don’t always do it the way that the citizens think should be,” Moak said. “If we knew, then we could develop something and move forward knowing that there was a reservoir of support.”

The city focused on community input through comment, plans and polling, he said.

“They (public) believe in it as much as the port and the city do,” Moak said.

Construction on the first phase of the project will begin in the fall. Moak said by this time next year he hopes pieces of the new area will be sold off to the private sector.

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