While 2014 was a year of transition for Pasco with the retirement of longtime City Manager Gary Crutchfield — and my own start with the city in late August — the needs of our growing community continue with a number of major projects planned for 2015.
The city has long planned for and, over the last few years, made significant progress in preparing for the replacement of the Lewis Street underpass with a new overpass. Most significantly, demolition of the buildings acquired with the right of way is necessary for the project is complete. The project is “shovel ready;” however, it may be several more years before construction funding is in hand.
Because the project requires modification to the street system at the west (downtown) end of the overpass, it provides the opportunity to create new improvements and energy in the downtown today. Rather than waiting for completion of the construction project, the city is in the midst of a visionary process, bringing together various community interests, stakeholders and citizens to consider the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in conjunction with the transportation needs in the Lewis Street corridor and downtown in general. The city will play a supporting role with a number of projects, including traffic improvements, parking design and pedestrian accommodations. In addition, the city also envisions renovations at Peanuts Park, adjacent to the farmers market. Properly coordinated, and with the support of the community, these efforts represent an opportunity to revitalize the area as a destination for visitors and expand commercial activities. The city will seek to support efforts of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority, as it looks at opportunities to promote and improve downtown, including the farmers market and the specialty kitchen.
While the reality of the Lewis Street overpass may still be several years into the future, the future of downtown Pasco can be just around the corner, so stay tuned for opportunities to share your input.
Another important priority of the city is the enhancement of economic development. The city has enjoyed great success in industrial development with the growth of the food processing businesses in the Pasco Processing Center and, more recently, near the intersection of Highway 12 and the Kahlotus Highway. Several projects to increase capacity and availability of the city’s Process Water Reuse Facility are planned or under way to provide even more opportunities for investment and job growth in the vibrant food industry.
Additional opportunities for economic development lie in west Pasco. The State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is scheduled to begin making available for development about 300 acres of land at the Road 68 and I-182 interchange by midyear. The DNR property in the southwest quadrant has approximately 66 acres zoned for commercial and 234 acres zoned for residential development. Near the Road 100 and Broadmoor Boulevard interchange, the city recently sold a seven-acre parcel on Sandifur Parkway for the construction of a new Subaru automobile dealership and is in the process of considering a property owner’s request to zone 140 acres, located on the west side of the same intersection, as commercial.
Also in west Pasco, the city will continue to work toward incorporation of a significant part of the unincorporated “doughnut hole” portion of the city’s Urban Growth Area (UGA). Since being included as part of the UGA to become part of Pasco by Franklin County many years ago, the city has planned its public services facilities, utilities and transportation system to accommodate annexation
of the area. In 2015, the city will utilize a citizens committee to review the facts associated with the proposed annexation and report on the accuracy of information and analysis of impacts.
Much occurred in our city this past year, and I encourage you to read the department reports and follow our quarterly reports and newly revamped website ( www.pasco-wa.gov) as we move into 2015, and beyond.