Yakima identifies top six economic projects for federal aid

Yakima identifies top six economic projects for federal aid »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima’s six top economic development projects were recently submitted to the Yakima County Development Association in hopes of securing federal aid.

KIMA has reported extensively on the mill site and airport but a few other, less-talked about priorities have now been identified.

Among those priorities is the Northern Pacific train station. Yakima city leaders want to buy the place and fix it.

"It's one of the most important historical buildings in Downtown Yakima,” said Yakima Strategic Projects Manager Joan Davenport.

It's been empty for years while sitting right across the street from thriving stores. Shop owners nearby say the move could boost their business.

"An event center, any restaurants, little shops,” said Garden Girl owner Lenette Roehl. “Just almost anything that would bring people down here, it's commerce."

Action News learned it's one of Yakima's top economic priorities on a list submitted to the Yakima County Development Association.

The mill site, airport and North First Street are also included in the regional planning process involving shovel-ready projects.

All of which will fall under the new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Central Washington.

New Vision and the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce will take try to get money from the federal government to help pay for them.

Yakima also wants to buy more land for public space downtown. The city plans to spend more than $100,000 on consultants to help with that.

"They will help identify locations for additional space, that might be parks, could be a farmer's market,” said Davenport.

City leaders are also exploring a potential rebate program for North First Street. It could partially reimburse business owners for replacing old signs and fresh landscaping.

"The more things that we have down here for people to do, the better off we're all going to be,” said Roehl.

The money isn't guaranteed, but city leaders say they have to explore these options.

Yakima's projects will be ranked against proposals from other cities in the region. And, will go through a public hearing process that will eventually require Kittitas and Yakima County commissioner approval.