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.
“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.
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.