Construction could begin in August on a new parking lot for hikers at Richland’s popular Badger Mountain.
The Port of Kennewick agreed this week to pay $100,000 for the new parking area at Trailhead Park.
The Richland City Council still has to vote on the project June 21, said Joe Schiessl, the city’s parks director, but the plan is to start the work sometime in August.
Jim Langdon, trailmaster for Friends of Badger Mountain, praised the parking project. The organization is continuing to add trails to handle the increased traffic on the mountain. About 200,000 visits were recorded in 2013.
The city owns Trailhead Park and the stairs that lead up to the trails, and the county owns the 650-acre preserve from the stairs to the top of Badger Mountain, which rises about 1,600 feet.
Port residents are among those who use Badger Mountain, and the city and port officials continue to seek ways to partner on economic development projects within the port’s boundaries in Richland.
“This is exactly what we need to do,” said port Vice President Skip Novakovich. “I love the partnerships.”
There is one paved parking lot and one dirt lot with about 30 to 40 parking spaces, depending on how closely vehicles park, Schiessl said.
That’s not enough to meet demand, and it leads many visitors to park on Queensgate Drive, causing problems for residents.
The new lot will add about 50 spaces. If there’s enough money, they will pave and stripe the other lots as well to increase capacity, Schiessl said.
“This has the potential to take all the street parking and put it in a parking lot,” he said.
Even if the new lot doesn’t meet all the demand, the city is considering restricting parking at least on the residential side of Queensgate.
“Eventually that street will go all the way through and become busy,” he said.