Kennewick council asks downtown board to show progress

The Downtown Historic Kennewick Partnership would have to meet city council expectations in 2012 to collect $50,000 that has been provided to the group annually for 12 years.

The council wants the association to show quarterly progress on developing a comprehensive marketing plan, revitalizing the look of downtown with at least one improvement project, doing something to identify and reduce the vacancy rate and developing a five-year vision and mission with an appropriate plan for the Columbia Drive business district.

Achieving those goals will be essential to receiving quarterly payments as the city's annual support to the association.

"We've set this up to see how well the job is being done downtown," said Mayor Steve Young, who said the proposed contract between the city and association was a good one.

"I like the goals and objectives. It is right where the (downtown association) board needs to go," he said.

The contract, which has been reviewed by and is acceptable to the board, still has to be adopted by the city council. That may occur next week, if no council members disagree.

Councilman Don Britain, who is the city's liaison to the association board, said the proposed contract caused some initial concern to board members because of the potential funding loss.

But, the board reviewed it carefully and has agreed with the goals, he added.

Tim Dalton, executive director of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership, discussed with the council the achievements of 2011, noting that new businesses have come, and that most of the events held during the year were very successful.

The association began receiving annual support from the city in 1999 under a five-year contract.

That was followed by a three-year extension, then a two-year extension in 2008, with a one-year contract for 2011.

This will be the first time the contract has a pay-for-performance requirement, with set goals for each quarter, said Terry Walsh, the city's director of employee and community relations. She also is a member of the association's board.

Also Tuesday:

-- The council heard an update from Matt Watkins about the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District board.

Watkins, who is chairman of the board and mayor of Pasco, said the board is trying to obtain broad consensus about which of four proposed projects to present to the public for a vote on a sales tax increase of up to 0.02 percent.

Watkins said the board, which meets at 5:45 p.m. tonight at Richland City Hall, will discuss the proposals and their operating expenses.

"Of the four projects, some are more sustainable than others," he said.

The four projects are: expanding the Three Rivers Convention Center with an exhibit hall; building a performing arts center; building a regional aquatics center; and contributing financially to the construction of a Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.

-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; jtrumbo@tricityherald.com