Investing in the The Link is an investment in our future!
The Link will provide opportunities to draw national entertainment to the Tri-Cities region, generating more revenue, more visitors and more jobs in Kennewick and beyond.
The time is ripe for an expansion of the Three Rivers Campus, especially with the development of neighboring Vista Field and other retail centers in Kennewick. The Link will establish Kennewick as an entertainment destination as well as an economic engine for the entire Tri-Cities region.
The following is a brief description of The Link:
What is The Link?
The Link is a 110,000-square-foot multi-purpose entertainment center, which includes a 2,300-seat Broadway-caliber theater, long overdue enhancements to the Toyota Center and the expansion of the convention center.
For years, Tri-Citians have shared a common goal of creating a unified arts and entertainment district. The Link is at the heart of this goal for growth and progress. With a population of 275,000, we will be able to support national entertainment options.
The Tri-Cities region is lacking adequate arts and entertainment amenities and venues to sustain a populace of our size. Our citizens are traveling to Yakima, Spokane and Seattle to enjoy national entertainment and events. The Link will provide the necessary accommodations to attract touring entertainment. The Toyota Center is in need of improvements to adequately meet existing demands for arena entertainment.
Regional economic engine
The Link will equip the Three Rivers Campus with the facilities necessary to sustain and grow convention groups, as well as attract new business to the Tri-Cities region. Bringing The Link to the Tri-Cities will generate 540 new jobs and an additional $68 million annually in visitor spending in the region.
The city of Kennewick owns approximately 15 acres near the coliseum and convention center and has an agreement to buy 14 acres more. The city has pledged to build up to 1,000 new parking spots near The Link.
The cost of The Link is $35 million to $40 million.
Who pays for The Link?
The sales tax will be paid by everyone in the Tri-Cities region, including out-of-town visitors, spending in Kennewick. The Link will be funded by a two-tenths of 1 percent sales tax increase, which is equivalent to 2 cents on a $10 purchase. The proposed tax increase is not applicable to groceries, utilities, prescription medicine or gas. The sales tax increase has a sunset of 20 years.
Who manages The Link?
The Kennewick Public Facilities District designed, built and has operated the Three Rivers Convention Center for over 12 years. The district has been a great steward of this community asset and built the venue on time and under budget, and has successfully operated the convention center at no cost to the residents of Kennewick.
The Toyota Center has not undergone any major improvements in 28 years, nor has the Three Rivers Convention Center since it was constructed in 2004. During the past 12 years, Spokane ($118 million expansion and improvements), Seattle ($1.6 billion expansion under way), Wenatchee ($53 million in new arena construction), Boise ($38 million expansion) and many other cities throughout the nation have made significant investments in their entertainment facilities and convention centers. We need The Link to sustain existing business and bring in new business to the Tri-Cities region.
We are citizens of a community that continues to grow, and we must continually enhance our quality of life in the region. If Kennewick voters do not support The Link, our community is at risk of being left behind as cities like Spokane and Seattle continue to expand and invest in such facilities through sales tax-funded projects. It is crucial that the Tri-Cities remain competitive while continuing to diversify our economy. This plan is a reasonable way to do it.
Please join me in voting yes for The Link.
For further information, visit threeriversconventioncenter.com/
Dean Strawn, is a Kennewick resident and business owner of 53 years, received the honor of being the Tri-Citian of the Year, Kennewick Man of the Year, and had served for 12 years on the Kennewick Public Facilities District Board.