Study recommends safety changes to Yakima's Greenway

Study recommends safety changes to Yakima's Greenway

YAKIMA, Wash.  --  A push to make the Yakima Greenway safer for your family is taking shape and it starts with tackling crime.

The 10 mile long pathway attracts a diverse number of visitors every day.

"The dog makes me walk," said Greenway visitor Chris Brown. "But, you know, it's a nice place for him and at the scenery's nice."

Yakima wants more people, like Chris, to enjoy the Greenway.

A reputation for the trail system as a haven for crime and homelessness hasn't made that easy. Most notably, the double murder near the path over the summer.

"Without a dog, I probably wouldn't feel safe at all doing it alone," Brown said.

"We did a study and looked at different ways that we could change that perception in the community," said Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi.

Among the recommendations are more lights and security cameras. These could help stop a car prowler or catch them in the act.

During the summer, Yakima Police would patrol the Greenway on a bicycle.

The city is also looking at the cost of upgrading playgrounds and developing unused space. The hope being a safer environment and more things for people to do, will mean more people using the Greenway.

"The more people that are out there, the less comfortable a bad guy would feel about going in there and breaking into a car," said Rizzi.

Although nothing is set in stone, the plan has its own price tag.

Security cameras alone can cost up to $2,000 a pop.

"Do you think council will be on board to approve funding for something like this?" KIMA asked.

"Well, I think council's expressed interest in enhancing our recreational resources," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke.

For regulars like Chris, it's great news.

"I think that would be a really good idea because it's such a nice area. And, it needs to attract more people," said Brown.

Yakima hopes its plan will do just that, and bring you back to the Greenway.

The approval of a final plan will be up to city council.

Yakima leaders expect to have a clearer idea of costs and proposed changes over the coming weeks.