A portion of Goethals Drive in Richland eventually will close to support the expansion of Kadlec Regional Medical Center's campus.
The Richland City Council on Tuesday approved the right of way vacation in a5-0 vote as part of its consent agenda. Mayor John Fox and Councilman Bob Thompson were absent.
The affected section of Goethals is about 465 feet, stretching from the emergency room entrance to just south of Dr. I-Yen Yang's office.
The portion of road won't close immediately; the hospital first will build a new connector street between Jadwin and Gillmore avenues.
The council approved the action Tuesday without any discussion, but Mayor Pro Tem David Rose noted the idea actually has been on the table and debated for a few years.
"It wasn't a quick decision or any easy decision," he told the Herald.
At first, the council was reluctant. But the stretch of road eventually was shortened and the connector street became part of the deal.
Kadlec will buy the right of way. The fair market value is estimated at $210,240, according to informationfrom city staff.
Kadlec's campus today covers about 11 acres, but officials envision a larger campus that stretches to the east, on the other side of Goethals. Proponents have said closing the section of street will improve pedestrian safety, among other benefits. Opponents have listed concerns including the potential effect on local access.
City officials say analysis by traffic engineering consultants found the area can support the traffic changes.
About 20 people -- both for and against -- spoke during a public hearing in May, and the council also received numerous written comments.
After Tuesday's meeting, Kadlec officials said they were pleased.
Jim Hall, Kadlec spokesman, said the hospital looks forward to continuing to be a good neighbor in the area.
-- Richland police Capt. Mike Cobb received an outstanding service award from the nonprofit Code 4 Public Safety Education Association.
The award is for his years of work helping first responders and military personnel deal with critical incident stress. Cobb has done everything from field phone calls on his own time to train others and develop course curriculum, said Joe Puckett, the organization's executive director, during the meeting.
Cobb has gone "above and beyond," spending "over 20 years at an outstanding level of service, helping individuals and agencies after critical incidents," Puckett said.
Cobb, who received a standing ovation from the council and audience, told the crowd he was humbled by the recognition.
-- The council held a public hearing on the potential surplus of the old Wright Street fire station.
The building was built in the 1950s as a neighborhood fire station, but for years has been used as a part-time preschool.
The current operator -- a parent cooperative -- uses the building about 7.5 hours a week and could relocate to the city's community center, according to information from city staff.
It would take significant investment from the city to do more with the building beyond the 7.5-hour-a-week preschool, the information said.
But Sagebrush Montessori in Richland is interested in it; the city must declare it surplus before it could be leased or sold.
The city's Parks and RecreationCommission and Planning Commission both have given their OK to the surplus. The matter is expected to comeback before the council again later this month.
Two people spoke during the public hearing -- the vice chairman of the parks commission and a Sagebrush official.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald