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Tri-Cities in 2035: A glimpse into the future


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TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- With near-constant growth and ambitious plans our area is expanding at a rapid pace.

Action News is taking an imaginative look at what things could look like 10 to 15 years down the road.


In 2035 downtown Pasco still has the Farmer's Market on 4th Ave.

But Pasco's Zack Ratkai says there won't be anything else like it in the Tri-Cites.

"We're completely revamping the entire square," he says. "Adding food trucks spaces, some public art.”

Ratkai says it'll be the focal point of their downtown area.

In it, you'll see an enormous canopy, covering more are than the two currently in place.

It has new restrooms, increased security and is in use year-round.

Port of Pasco executive director Randy Hayden says the port has big plans, too.

"A really nice commercial waterfront development that we don't have here in the Tri-Cities," he says.

He's describing the port's Osprey Point, located between Ainsworth Ave. and the Columbia river.

"We definitely have room in the Tri-Cities to bring in name-brand entertainers," he says. "Having it on the waterfront would be a great place to do that."

Hayden says by 2035 the port wants to offer Tri-Cities own large amphitheater, similar to the Gorge north of Vantage.

He says a second public market will attract pedestrians and potentially upstairs neighbors.

"We're going to see some residential and hopefully some restaurants," he says.

Plans also call for a back-to-front development: artisan studios with their own storefronts.

"We also have that beautiful old historic wharf," he says in 2035 it's covered with a recreation hub. "Where you can rent some kayaks or bikes."

Hayden says an old time town square similar to projects in San Diego and Albuquerque sits in the shadow of the cable bridge.

"Something that really takes advantage of the beautiful view of the bridge," he says.


Zip over that same bridge to Kennewick's waterfront, by now a finished Columbia Gardens Wine Village overlooks Clover Island.

Port of Kennewick CEO Tim Arntzen says the empty lots of 2020 are covered by mixed-use developments.

"Maybe that's where a restaurant goes," he suggests. "We're not going to change the character of it so much that you lose the concept that Clover Island is a fun place that you want to be."

Further inland he says another port-project is well on its way to becoming the Tri-Cities' down-town area.

“Vista Field is a huge, huge thing," Arntzen says. "It's going to be very robust, it's going to be a fun place, a hub of activity and it's going to be the center of our community."

He says our area has never seen anything like it.

"It's called new urbanism," Arntzen explains. "It is a whole new concept for us in eastern Washington and we want to get it right."

Evelyn Lusignan with the City of Kennewick says Vista Field feels very modern: "People are living there, working there and going there for entertainment."

She says by 2035, partnerships between public and private investors are making the region's entertainment district possible.

Nearby, tall residential towers house offices and shops in the lower floors.

"We've had younger people say they need to leave this area to find that type of vibrancy and excitement of an urban downtown," Lusignan explains. "So it'll create that here in the heart of our community. A big city that feels like a small town."

She says the plans are exciting, and the ball is already rolling: "We want to attract a younger workforce, not see them leave our community."

By 2035, an interchange at US-395 and Ridgeline Dr. opened the vacant land south of I-82 to developers.

"[If] you have the highway access big companies can come in," Lusignan says. "It provides new development opportunities."

She says it also extends the southern border of current-day Kennewick further south.


If future drivers take I-82 westbound Richland's Kerwin Jensen says they'll see less open land but a lot more of everything else.

"Hundreds of homes," he says. "That's a community slated to have five-thousand homes."

Jensen says it's called Badger Mountain South and the enormous development rivals current-day West Richland in size.

Plans call for new churches, 30 acre park, stores, and even four different schools.

"It'll be a small community if you think of it," he explains. "13 thousand people once it's built out."

Richland economic developer Mandy Wallner says downtown Richland's future is just as bright.

"Our urban core [is] about infill and redevelopment," she says. "For awhile we got ahead of ourselves and we did a little sprawling in all directions in all cities . We've regrouped and now we're working on [what we've got]."

Finding cool things to put in those old buildings and draw young people downtown.

She says by 2035 projects at the old city hall site and Park Place apartments will do just that.

"We're trying to create a sense of place, and I think that's different than in years before," Wallner explains. "Previously we were trying to create someplace people wanted to come to work and then they'd find a place to live, but now people look for a place to live and then they'll find a job."

Lusignan says the Tri-Cities of tomorrow is well under way.

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"Each year there's something new and exciting," she says. "You drive around the community and you see groundbreakings and buildings going up. We see transformation happening every day."

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