Progress Edition

City of West Richland: Poised for rapid expansion

Mayor Gerry with two little officers at National Night Out
Mayor Gerry with two little officers at National Night Out Courtesy City of West Richland

West Richland has opened another chapter in its history with the City Council’s adoption of the comprehensive plan periodic update. This document is the guide staff and council use to grow our city for years to come.

Over the last two years, the City Council updated the zoning development standards to address the various housing options the city needs. The code updates allow for townhouse, multi-family and condominium developments that are now being built along major intersections such as Bombing Range Road and Mt. Adams View Drive, as well as planned projects at the future intersection of West Van Giesen Street and Paradise Way.

We are excited to see the increase in multi-family, which is a commodity our city has been lacking. All of this certainly contributes to our over 3 percent annual growth, bringing our population to 15,360 as of 2018. We expect to see our annual growth double after receiving an application for a 165-acre subdivision that will make up 563 residential lots to be developed in 10 phases.

The balance of the site will be public right-of-way, open space tracts, parks, undeveloped commercial and multi-family residential tracts. The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch is an appropriate name given its location at the base of Red Mountain just north of Red Mountain Center.

Recognizing the residential growth, the Richland School District continues to plan for students in West Richland. Construction will begin in 2019 on a rebuild of Tapteal Elementary School and a new 45,000-square-foot teachers Learning and Administrative Center that will be north of the planned third Richland High School on vacant land to the west of Leona Libby Middle School. Finally, the school district will complete the new Belmont Elementary School in time for its first classes this fall.

It is anticipated that the average of 100 home permits issued a year will be surpassed in 2019 and commercial permits will increase as well. The city provides a relaxed and attractive quality of life and also participates in community events such as National Night Out, Hogs & Dogs, Earth Day and supports sports leagues and others that utilize our well maintained parks, trails and community garden.

The city is partnering with the Greater Richland Little League for improvements at the Bombing Range Sports Complex that include new bleachers, sunshades and safety netting. The Columbia Center Rotary Club generously provided a $12,000 grant to contribute to the improvements.

The residential growth spurs economic development and the city is actively marketing its commercial properties known as the Belmont Business District at the intersection of Belmont Boulevard and Keene Road, which can accommodate up to 60,000 square feet of gross floor area.

With the development of the Municipal Services Campus in the Belmont Business District, the former city campus surrounding the library and police station in the downtown was freed up for new occupants and owners. Those available properties are also being marketed for sale and/or lease.

As the city grows, so do our infrastructure needs. We have several capital projects planned for 2019.

The city’s 2019 Focus on Transportation Systems includes:

▪  The Bombing Range Road Bridge Rehab Project will upgrade existing bridge girders to eliminate posted weight limit restrictions.

▪  The Pedestrian Crossing Improvements Project includes installation of rapid flashing beacon lights at Bombing Range Road at the Sports Complex, the intersection of Jade and Paradise Way, Belmont Blvd. at the new elementary school, and the intersection of North 62nd Avenue and Van Giesen.

▪  Grosscup Blvd. project will provide a new asphalt overlay on Grosscup Blvd., from Van Giesen St. to North 62nd Ave. and upgrade of handicap ramps.

▪  New traffic signals will be installed at the intersections of Bombing Range Road and Mt. Adams View Drive as well as Van Giesen Street and South 38th Avenue.

The city’s 2019 Focus on Water Systems includes:

▪  Brotherhood Reservoir Project, which is the construction of a new one-million gallon reservoir to increase water pressure and fire flow to commercial properties along the Van Giesen corridor.

▪  Well No. 11 Project includes construction of a new potable groundwater well with 1,650 gallons per minute capacity.

▪  Well No. 10 Aquifer Storage & Recovery Project modifies the city’s existing well No. 10 into an aquifer storage and recovery project.

The city’s 2019 Focus on Facilities includes:

▪  Municipal Services Facility Tenant Improvement Project, which will complete interior construction of a 4,000-square-foot shell.

▪  Mid-Columbia Library Remodel. A complete remodel of the West Richland Branch began in January 2019. The remodeled library will have a larger collection of material and eight public computers, with a lounge for using tablets and laptops. Also planned are a new storytime area with an improved children’s collection, a historic photo mural and a small conference room.

▪  Proposed Police Facility. A bond has been proposed to voters for construction of a larger, more secure police facility. A special election will be held on April 23.

As West Richland grows, it continues to be a great place to do business, raise a family, and play!