The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center received two large donations last week, ending a month that saw substantial progress toward making the center a reality.
Attorney Allen Brecke pledged $25,000 to the Reach, and George Garlick wrote a check for $50,000 on behalf of Garlick Enterprises.
Brecke matched the gift of his long-time friend Diehl Rettig. Rettig, an attorney, was vice chairman of the nonprofit center's board, until his unexpected death last year.
Brecke serves on the Reach's Capital Campaign Steering Committee. Garlick also is a member of the committee, which is raising money for the project.
More than $26 million has been raised to date for the proposed 61,000-square-foot museum, budgeted at $40.5 million.
On Friday, the committee sent a letter to the Richland City Council, urging it to award the Richland Public Facilities District a sublease for property in the west end of Columbia Park.
The district is overseeing development of the center, which is intended to tell the story of Hanford's role in winning the Cold War and World War II, as well as the history, geology, flora and fauna of the region. The area's Ice Age Floods history also would be featured.
The center has been under development for years but jumped a major hurdle April 20.
The Walla Walla District of the Army Corps of Engineers announced initial approval for construction of the museum in the west end of Columbia Park. The project originally had been planned for Columbia Point South at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers, but area tribes objected.
The Corps released a draft environmental study on the new proposed site that will be open for public comment until May 23. The construction project could be granted final approval then.
The project still would need to finalize a lease and finish raising the remainder of the money needed.
In other news, the Capital Campaign Steering Committee has added five more members. They are: Frank Armijo, president of Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance; Marc Harden, retired Kennewick police chief; Ryan Brault, Edward Jones financial advisor; Carlos Martinez, owner of Durashine Clean, and Jay Clough, politician and Hanford health physics technician for Washington River Protection Solutions.