Mabton to spend millions on downtown improvements

Mabton to spend millions on downtown improvements »Play Video
MABTON, Wash. -- Another city in the Yakima Valley has plans to give its downtown a facelift. Mabton plans to spend millions of dollars on new sidewalks, lighting and landscaping. KIMA has the details on what's in store for Main Street.

Mabton turns 109 this year. Its age is showing.

"It looks almost like a ghost town," said one neighbor.

Mabton's mayor wants to change that image. It starts with Main Street. Mabton already secured $300,000 in state money on designs.

On the wish list: a repaved street, new sidewalks and a landscaped median. Better lighting, benches and plants, as well as putting utility lines underground.

"Just make it look a lot cleaner," said Mayor Mario Martinez. "Make it kind of look like that old Jimmy Stewart movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life,' where they got the nice, beautiful Main Street."

Mabton plans to apply for $3 million once the plans are complete - plans the mayor says could mean more business.

"The perception goes out that, 'Hey, Mabton's a nice little clean town. They got some nice things going on,' and then, maybe, one thing leads to another."

Sabas Cantu wants a nicer Mabton. He's lived here for more than 60 years.

"Gasoline stations, we had about three of them. Now, we only have one. And, the grocery stores, we had quite a few of them and there's only about two here. That's it. Somebody has to do something about it."

The Main Street revitalization is part of a broader effort to bring the town into the 21st century. Work on a $4.5 million wastewater facility begins in April. Another $4 million on improvements to the drinking water system are in the planning stage - some of the money coming from hiking the water rate.

"If we don't raise the rates, then we're not going to have reliable water, we're not going to have a reliable sewer system, we're not going to have new streets," said Martinez. "It's just part of the reality that it has to be done."

Or risk being left behind in a rapidly changing Valley.

Mabton also plans a safer way for kids to walk to school. It involves installing a new intersection to cross State Route 22.