Progress Edition

Port of Kennewick: Vista Field highlights a slate of big projects

Winemakers, local officials and members of the community help officially open Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February. The Port of Kennewick will add more amenities, shovel-ready parcels for private development, and a third tasting room in 2018.
Winemakers, local officials and members of the community help officially open Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in February. The Port of Kennewick will add more amenities, shovel-ready parcels for private development, and a third tasting room in 2018. Courtesy Port of Kennewick

This year will be one of the most memorable in the Port of Kennewick’s history. Several Port projects will reach tipping points in 2018, helping foster jobs, build infrastructure and enhance the quality of life for this community.

Perhaps the most anticipated is Vista Field, which is a culmination of long-term collaborations with the community, City of Kennewick and many other partners. The public’s plea for an urban core will begin to be realized this year as the Port starts Phase One. In preparation for the initial work, we finalized design and engineering and are preparing biddable construction documents and securing our financing package.

The first phase will include developing a public plaza and linear parkway, creating a connection across the former runway between Deschutes and Grandridge Avenues, and installing streets, sidewalks, landscaping, and infrastructure required to open 20 acres at the heart of Vista Field.

This phase will lay the foundation for private-sector development. The Port will reinvest Vista Field land-sale proceeds into the project to continue moving it forward, using a pay-as-we-go approach. And while the entire 103-acre site will take many years to complete, a phase-one groundbreaking this fall will prove a monumental milestone.

Along Columbia Drive, the Port and our project partner, the City of Kennewick, celebrated the opening of Columbia Gardens Urban Wine & Artisan Village in February – welcoming two production wineries to Columbia Drive’s historic waterfront. Since opening, Bartholomew Winery and Monarcha Winery have seen a steady stream of guests to their tasting rooms. And we're not done yet.

Last May, the Port and City of Kennewick were honored to receive a $2.1 million grant in Rural County Capital Funds from Benton County. That investment allows the Port to add a loop road, additional parking, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, artwork, a food-truck park, and a public plaza. That work will be completed this summer, making shovel-ready parcels available at Columbia Gardens for private-sector investment. Then, in the fall, the Port will use insurance proceeds to construct and lease another winery building, bringing a third tasting room to the waterfront.

At The Willows, adjacent to Clover Island, the Port and our project partners, Benton County, City of Kennewick, and Columbia Basin College, are continuing planning efforts for Phase Three infrastructure improvements to facilitate CBC’s Culinary Arts Institute.

The Port continues to collaborate with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Clover Island habitat and recreational enhancements – a joint project to extend the public trail and restore shallow water habitat along the island’s north shoreline. Last year, on the island’s south shoreline, the Port installed The Gathering Place artwork, lengthened the public pathway, and created a site for private-sector commercial development with residential opportunities.

We’re also partnering with the City of Richland on infrastructure and roadway upgrades along Columbia Park Trail to support future growth.

In West Richland, the Port supported the city’s efforts to create a park and enhance public access at the Van Giesen waterfront. And at the Port’s former Tri-City Raceway site, we removed property restrictions and adopted a master plan to guide improvements.

Major expansion in Kennewick’s Southridge area was spurred by the Port’s multi-year land development efforts. To spark additional investment, the Port will sell our excess Southridge property and use those proceeds to stimulate redevelopment at Vista Field.

Our unwavering commitment to drive economic benefits for the Tri-Cities propels us forward. The Port commissioners and staff will continue this important work on your behalf, making smart investments that transform neighborhoods and address evolving community needs.

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