Pasco is firing on all cylinders: local and outside investment, a hot housing market, a growing retail market share, help from the Legislature, steady work on long-term council goals.
Thanks to the efforts of our 9th and 16th Legislative District delegations, two major capital projects received state funding significant to enough to move them from the status of “planned” to “reality”:
▪ The long-planned Lewis Street Overpass project was included in the transportation package passed in the 2015 legislative session. The project is slated to receive $26 million beginning in 2019. The next couple of years will involve a major public outreach/input effort in advance of finalizing plans, permitting and rounding up the last few dollars to construct the project. Completion of this project will ease access to downtown for thousands of east side residents.
▪ Expansion of the area serviced by the city’s process water treatment facility is under way after being made possible by a state capital budget allocation of $2.65 million. The improvements will allow for an already impressive agricultural processing cluster to expand, bringing new jobs into the community.
Another jobs generator is the recently announced location of a 465,000 square foot AutoZone parts distribution center in Pasco’s King City industrial area. The decision by AutoZone, a Fortune 500 company, will add hundreds of family wage jobs to the local economy and provide those all-important next tier opportunities for a developing work force. Construction on the project is expected to start in early 2016. The announcement by AutoZone comes at the same time two other local ag-related concerns are looking to expand and relocate to King City. With these three projects coming online, King City is quickly becoming a major jobs center for the region.
The Broadmoor Boulevard/Road 100 area of Pasco will see significant attention in 2016. With the Powerline Road connection to Road 68 complete, interest in development of the area has increased dramatically. Much of the approximately 2,000-acre area on either side of Interstate 182 along Broadmoor will be included in a major sub-area planning and environmental review effort in 2016 that will provide greater land-use predictability for current residents and businesses, future investors.
Downtown Pasco has seen resurgence over the past few years with building upgrades, new facades and new businesses. With the success of the farmers market, last year’s addition of the wildly successful Food Truck Friday and other events, the downtown is being rediscovered. A major community visioning effort, to build on the existing area to create the preferred future, kicked off last year. Moving forward in 2016, the community will again be asked to participate in design of a new Peanuts Park, streetscape improvements and a new farmers market.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been coordinating closely with the city in planning for the sale of DNR land southwest of Road 68 and I-182. DNR plans to auction the property later this year. As a growing community, the addition of this inventory of prime residential and commercial land is important to the continued vibrancy and needs of our community.
Few relationships impact the ability of a community to move forward more than the relationship between the people and their government.
In closing, a few words about that relationship. Last year’s officer-involved shooting resulted in the loss of life of a community member. In the aftermath of this tragic event, an important ongoing community dialogue about diversity, inclusion, participation and opportunity has been elevated in a way that is resonating throughout the community and serving as an example to the nation of how a community deals with tragedy. Much effort has been taken or is under way even while the community continues to heal. While there remains much to do, more than ever, the community is working together toward a goal of “One Pasco!”