10/21/2014

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Yakima ready for next step to develop downtown plaza

Yakima ready for next step to develop downtown plaza
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Plans are moving forward in creating a downtown plaza. Representatives from the design team held a public meeting Thursday evening to get your input.

The goal is to bring new life and business back to our downtown.
Most community members agree something needs to be done, but the question is, what?

"Parks, seating, cause I know it's downtown so a lot of people work you know downtown," said Yadi Sandoval. "You know a quick place to go during your break time or lunch, summer."

Yakima's design team, made up of two Yakima natives, is asking for public input before moving forward. They've created a survey for citizens to rate aspects they'd like to see, such as parks, plants, and food concessions. It also gauges how far people would be willing to walk downtown. Some felt more than just a plaza is needed for revitalization.

"I'm a bicyclist, and I'm a big, you know I think we need bicycling and pedestrian kind of friendly corridors, and I think we need just different parks and green spaces around downtown too, but not just downtown, but just kind of all around the surrounding area as well," said Kent Jones.

Other concerns raised included how businesses would operate with a loss of parking, as well as safety concerns with people not wanting to walk long distances to their car in the evening.

Thursday's meeting was the first of five. The design team will start creating plans based on feedback from the surveys. They'll create three design options for a plaza at the Milennium plaza, and one design option at the alternate location in the parking lot south east of Second Street and Sgt. Pendleton Way. By early fall the design team will recommend one option as well as the cost. City Council then has the final vote.

"This place has so much going for it and I think we need to capitalize on the wholeness and the well rounded community we have," said Kay Maples.

As Yakima tries to get the ball rolling towards a new downtown.

The survey will also be on the city's website by next week. Copies will be available in both English and Spanish. The next public meeting with the design team will be early next month.
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