Whether Vista Field stays open or closes has no direct impact on me, which offers me the opportunity for an objective view of the situation. To me, it appears that for the past several years, the Port pf Kennewick has been planning for a closure while it "shopped" for study results that would justify the planned closure. Claims by the port that costs to improve the field are too high seem weak when, in truth, the costs of the multiple studies would have offset those capital improvement costs. When Dr. Shannon submitted an operational proposal to the port, his figures were misrepresented by port officials. So when trying to decide what the truth is, I am left with the old adage, "who benefits?"
Who does benefit from the closing? Clearly the port benefits by closing what they see as a "white elephant" operation and gains an enormous cash influx from the sale of property. The city of Kennewick benefits from expected increases in sales tax. Benton County benefits by increased property taxes. KID benefits, as they own adjoining property which will increase in value, although I suspect none of this additional income will benefit ratepayers. Developers will benefit, as they always do, by the sale of property developed at the expense of the port, ostensibly from the proceeds from prospective property sale. Builders will benefit from profits gained from contracts secured. The Tri-City Herald will benefit from increased business ads and residential subscriptions. Makes me wonder how objective these parties can be.
Who does not profit? Well, there will certainly be an increased traffic flow around the area. Columbia Center Blvd., Clearwater, Deschutes Ave. and Grandridge Blvd. will most certainly become harder to navigate. And the proposed development includes multiple residential units, which means another request from the Kennewick School District for another bond measure to increase classrooms due to additional students. Additionally, what of the unfunded improvement costs related to closing and development costs incurred by the port and city?
Promises by politicians and bureaucrats seem to have little merit once the deed has been done. So I, am highly skeptical, maybe even cynical about the "why and how" of closing Vista Field.
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- JOHN PARKER, Kennewick