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Benton, Kennewick, Pasco Ports
Contemplating Key Projects in 2013

by Kristi Pihl
The Bellingham Herald, October 22, 2012

Improving the marina at Crow Butte Park near Paterson, buying property for the redevelopment of Columbia Drive in Kennewick and widening Argent Road in Pasco are among key projects Tri-City ports are pursuing next year.

And in 2013 the projects chosen by the ports of Benton, Kennewick and Pasco will affect everything from airports to railroad bridges and rail spurs.

Here are some of the top projects each port hopes to tackle:

Port of Benton

Among the projects included in the Port of Benton's $8 million capital budget is building the Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center in Prosser.

The port's capital budget will be twice as large as it was this year, thanks to the grants the port got for the project, said Stuart Dezember, the port's auditor and finance director.

The $3.5 million wine and culinary center will include a 14,900-square-foot building to complement the Vineyard Pavilion, a 2,400-square-foot building, that opened on the same property last year.

The visitor and event center is being paid for by a $2 million federal grant, a $1.4 million state grant and fundraising by the nonprofit wine center board, said Scott Keller, the port's executive director.

The port also received a $2.2 million state grant to rebuild an old, wooden railroad bridge on Columbia Park Trail. The grant will cover the entire cost of replacing the bridge with metal one and updating it to current needs.

The port also will remodel the Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) building it recently bought for about $950,000 to serve as offices for the port and as incubator space for up to eight small businesses.

Keller said the port will spend about $800,000 next year to remodel the building. Buying an existing building instead of building a new office on the riverfront will save the port at least $3 million, he said.

The Prosser and Richland airports will see fencing and security gate improvements next year. The projects will use $450,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration and $45,000 from the port.

At Crow Butte Park, the port will invest $350,000 in upgrading the marina, including repairing the dock and adding boat slips in the u-shape moorage area, Keller said. The state gave the port a $250,000 grant for the project, and the rest will be paid by the port.

And half the cost of installing a $150,000 playground also will be covered by a state grant, Keller said.

That will help, since there isn't anything specifically for children to do right now, Dezember said.

Port of Kennewick

The Port of Kennewick's capital budget for 2013 includes $1.8 million to remodel two buildings the port owns in the Oak Street Industrial Park near Third Avenue, said Larry Peterson, the port's director of planning and development.

The 17,645-square-foot building and the 16,865-square-foot building were built in the '80s, he said. The interior will be remodeled to serve tenants, including replacing restrooms, modifying the buildings to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and upgrading lighting, electrical and communication systems.

This will allow up to six new businesses to rent space in the incubator buildings, Peterson said. At full occupancy, it could mean up to 120 jobs and an annual revenue to the port of $186,000.

The port also will likely spend $800,000 to buy 1.8 acres along Columbia Drive that includes the Chieftain Apartments, Labor Ready and The Pawn Shop, Peterson said. The port has budgeted another $200,000 in port money to cover closing costs and building demolition.

Peterson said this is a key piece that links other port-owned properties together and will help in the port's goal of redeveloping Columbia Drive. It will remove a sub-standard motel and provide a community connection to Duffy's Pond, he said.

The port also plans to remodel a 29,450-square-foot building at Vista Field to serve as the port's research and development facility, Peterson said.

The $360,000 project will involve restroom replacement, ADA compliance modifications and upgrades to the lighting, electrical and communication systems. Peterson said that once refurbished, the building at 415 N. Quay St. in Kennewick could become home to up to 90 jobs.

The port also will continue the $225,000 study of the Vista Field Airport alternatives. The port recently hired Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. of Portland to examining three options for Vista Field, which include keeping it open as is, making significant investments or closing the airport for redevelopment.

The port's total capital budget for 2013 is a little over $4.7 million, most of that is carryover money from this year's capital budget, said Tammy Fine, the ports director of finance and auditor.

Port of Pasco

The Port of Pasco's projects for next year include a $3 million expansion of the Tri-Cities Airport terminal. That project is in the planning process now, said Randy Hayden, the port's director of planning and engineering.

Expanding the airport's screening area and adding a new boarding concourse that can be expanded for more seating and gates will be paid for with the passenger facility charge collected from airline tickets.

The total capital budget will be about $11.3 million, up from the 2012 capital budget of $7.2 million. Hayden said that is based on grants the port received.

The port also will use a $1.8 million state grant to install a mile of rail in the Heritage Industrial Center, Hayden said. The goal is to attract rail-based industry.

The project will connect 40 acres that Pasco owns in the industrial center off "A" Street to an existing rail switch near Road 40 East.

And another $1.4 million state grant will allow a mile of rail to be added to the Big Pasco Industrial Center, which will help expand shipments of rail-based commodities through the port, he said.

The port also is partnering with Pasco and Columbia Basin College to widen Argent Road from two lanes to a five-lane landscaped boulevard, Hayden said. The port will kick in about $1 million.

Hayden said this will help add traffic capacity needed because of the development of the Airport Business Center, as well as providing an attractive gateway to the college and the airport.

The port also plans to buy the decommissioned Wagenaar Army Reserve Center, a 17,000-square-foot building, for about $700,000, Hayden said.

About $500,000 of that should be covered by the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration through a federal conveyance of property.

The building will become part of the Osprey Pointe Business Park and be available for lease, Hayden said.

Kristi Pihl
Benton, Kennewick, Pasco Ports Contemplating Key Projects in 2013
The Bellingham Herald, October 22, 2012

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