Is Democracy Killing Development of Downtown Pasco & Kennewick?
The biggest investment downtown Pasco has seen in years is the Union Gospel Mission's planned seven-acre men's facility (see map below for location). But like many other projects in and around downtown Pasco and downtown Kennewick, the public is throwing a fit (see the excellent Herald story from Monday). Without taking sides, I just want to point out how difficult it is becoming for someone to invest in these neighborhoods!
The Tri-City Herald's article about the proposed homeless shelter is fair, balanced and in-depth. It says downtown Pasco has been chosen to be a mecca for transients. Is that fair to businesses and residents there? Why not Road 68? Because people there wouldn't tolerate it? Why then downtown? Because it's old? Because it's predominantly Hispanic? Inviting more homeless to the neighborhood might reverse years of work to improve the neighborhood. The Union Gospel Mission says the transients are attracted by cheap motels and drug houses in the neighborhood, not its facility. Read the article for the whole discussion.
What I'm concerned about is the lack of action in revitalizing downtown Pasco and downtown Kennewick. Big ideas are thrown around (and we've seen beautiful improvements to Clover Island) but developers are becoming gun shy because of public outcry.
My mind goes back to a planned mobile home park where the Columbia Park Golf Course is. The city shelled out millions to the developer after public outcry forced it to back out of a deal. Back in the 1990s another man wanted to create an amphitheater in Columbia Park off Edison. What finally got built there was The Reach Interpretive Center -- and everyone knows how long THAT project took to get approved and built.
If we want to see downtown Kennewick and downtown Pasco revitalized, we need to do something about this trend where cities approve projects, then back out after public outcry.