Progress Edition

Port of Benton: Construction and partnerships highlighted 2018; more advancements coming

The Port continues to partner with Sundance Aviation, the fixed-base operator at the Richland Airport.
The Port continues to partner with Sundance Aviation, the fixed-base operator at the Richland Airport. Courtesy Port of Benton

2018 was a busy year with the construction of two buildings costing approximately $5 million. We are looking forward to 2019 to plan for the next period of development.

After the completion of the improvements to the Richland Airport entrance, the next phase will reflect an archway hoisting a silhouette of the “Day’s Pay” B-17 bomber. The aircraft was paid for from donations by every employee of Hanford Engineer Works as their way to contribute to support the World War II effort.

The port continues to partner with Sundance Aviation, the fixed-base operator at the Richland Airport. Sundance plans to lease an additional 14,400-square-foot building for avionics, turbine repair and maintenance services. Sundance has been a key factor in the growth of the airport since moving on site 14 years ago.

The Prosser Airport has a new fixed-base operator, Westwind Aviation, which offers flight instruction, aircraft rental, maintenance and fuel.

We are planning some final improvement upgrades to the recently constructed Chukar Cherry manufacturing building. A facade improvement will be added to the original building fronting Wine Country Road. Chukar is a nationally known specialty food manufacturer that started in a port development building located in Prosser in 1988.

A new contact station will be added to Crow Butte Park to welcome visitors. The park has become an “oasis in the desert” and has grown into one of the premier parks in Washington state. The port leased the park from the Army Corps of Engineers 11 years ago. With help from the Recreation and Conservation Office, the port has funded improvements with updated boat ramps, moorage slips, electrical services and a playground for children.

Thanks to the Recreation and Conservation Office and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, we are beginning to update the master plan and the planning and design phase for the addition of 22 RV sites near the marina.

We will continue to plan for improvements to the USS Triton Sail Park in north Richland. Restroom facilities and a visitor information area showcasing the USS Triton’s history are envisioned.

SIGN Fracture Care International purchased the port’s 38,000-square-foot development building at 451 Hills on its 20th anniversary. An official anniversary celebration was held March 16 at the Tri-City Convention Center.

Jeanne Dillner, CEO, Secretary/Treasurer of SIGN recently stated, “We are honored to have been a tenant of the port. They have been an excellent partner and supporter of SIGN since our inception in 1999. As we move into our next 20 years, we look ahead to designing new products, adding more educational opportunities for the surgeons in developing countries, and to providing thousands more patients the ability to heal from disabling fractures and bone deformities caused by road traffic and other accidents.

“Buying the building from the Port affords us the flexibility to expand our design and manufacturing capacity at a rate which lines up with the needs of the patients we serve,” she added

The port is also working with local developers to repurpose two 40,000-square-foot buildings at the Technology and Business Park. The developers have purchased the buildings and 7.52 acres of land to redevelop and attract future small business growth in Richland.

The port and the City of Richland have begun planning for the newly acquired 1,641-acre site in North Richland, which will be dedicated to energy-related research, development and manufacturing.

The port values its partnerships with Benton County, the cities of Richland, Prosser and Benton City, TRIDEC, Prosser EDA, Benton City EDC and our constituents for continued economic development in Benton County.