Yakima citizens group proposes alternative downtown plaza design

Yakima citizens group proposes alternative downtown plaza design »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash -- Some people in Yakima are shaking up the downtown plaza debate. They've come up with designs of their own. The centerpiece of their plans is a new parking garage. It has nothing to do with the consultants hired by the city. KIMA has the designs and reaction from city leadership.

You've seen the designs for a downtown plaza by architects hired by City Council.

Now, there's another -- put forth by a group that includes local realtor and developer, Jerry Maggard.

"We felt that it was just a win-win situation all the way around."

It's the first serious alternative coming from skeptics of the city's official proposals. It includes a two-level parking garage. Maggard says it would add 40 spaces to what's already there. There's also a stage, bathrooms and room for kiosks.

It would go next to Millennium Plaza, which would have more green space around it.

Yakima City Manager, Tony O'Rourke, isn't exactly bowled over.

"The public space is very small. I mean, basically is dominated by the Millennium sculpture with two structures adjacent to it. That really doesn't constitute a public plaza."

Jose Castro lives in Yakima and has been following the plaza developments. He's not convinced a parking structure is a good idea.

"By building all of this, the second floor, will take away the meaning of building that plaza there."

O'Rourke tells me that he doesn't think a parking structure would attract people downtown. And, that the city's consultants say there's already a surplus of parking.

Maggard is skeptical people want that extra parking because it's farther away.

"Common sense is not going to let somebody walk through that district of town, three or four blocks away."

He claims his designs would be cheaper than the architects' proposals.

O'Rourke plans to meet with Maggard's group soon and will share the designs with council.

Maggard's collaborators include ex-city councilmember, Ernie Berger, and ex-assistant city manager, Glenn Rice, among others.