The Port of Kennewick is making a good name for itself as it settles down from some of the drama of the past few years.
Now, it turns out, the commissioners are wondering whether that name is the best description for what the port does.
They're happy enough with the "good name," of course, after some of the language hurled their way during the dispute over whether Vista Field would stay open.
But does Port of Kennewick really play well in West Richland, Finley, Benton City and Plymouth?
The port owns lands in all those places, plus more to boot, and commissioners and staff members find themselves spending time explaining that their interests in places relatively far from Kennewick are strictly legitimate.
The commissioners, at the recommendation of staff, have authorized a sum "not to exceed" $65,000 to hire a consulting firm to research public perception of the port's name (brand) and, if necessary, to recommend a new one.
We're a little concerned about the "not to exceed" turning into a flat $65,000.
The public is quite rightly nervous these days about government spending on anything beyond the essentials. Even though the commissioners are putting off implementing the study for a couple of months, it's the kind of thing that likely will come to mind whenever money comes up in the near term.
As in, "If they can afford $65,000 for a name change, why can't they ...?" You fill in the blank.
Tana Bader Inglima, the port's director of governmental relations and marketing, told a Herald reporter that the task of the firm that is selected to do the study will include how people and stakeholders in the port's district perceive its current name.
They will ask the public by various survey techniques what the present name represents and whether it is accurate.
If the port decides to change its name, the firm would develop a new logo and graphics for the port, Bader Inglima explained.
At the same time that money is tight, it must be admitted that changes at the port through the past couple of years have been dramatic, especially on Clover Island.
The new light house, the work on the entryway, the docks and the shoreline south of the island promise to continue turning what once seemed a storage yard for chain-link fence into an attractive destination for an idle evening, a healthy walk or a business meeting.
Having done so much, we're not surprised the port is proud of what it has accomplished and wonders if it has the best of all possible names for what it is doing.
Our advice is that the port commissioners at least consider the possibility that this $65,000 proposed study might generate more trouble than it is worth.
Is there no in-house way to handle this? But even as we ask it, we have to acknowledge that the port is very frugally staffed.
And so far, at least from our point of view, this commission hasn't made a misstep.
From beautiful public art to attractive parking and new businesses, Clover Island is a real success and it isn't even finished yet.