Yakima's mayor discusses downtown with business leaders - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima's mayor discusses downtown with business leaders

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YAKIMA, Wash. – Mayor Micah Cawley met with business leaders in downtown Monday to share his goals for the city in 2010.

The breakfast, which was open to the public, was hosted by the Committee for Downtown Yakima and included many of its members as well as city officials.

Cawley was the featured speaker for the event and followed many business owners who spoke about specific sectors of downtown including wineries and shops on Front Street. He spent the majority of his time praising the group for their efforts to improve the area.

"You got a great Committee for Downtown Yakima," he told KNDO after the breakfast. "[It's] got a lot of active members and a lot of great business owners that are committed to keeping our downtown safe and vibrant through this economy."

In his address, he said public safety remains a top issue for the city and they are looking to work with other communities to combat gangs in the Yakima Valley. He also touched on the growing concern of aggressive panhandlers, a topic that many in the crowd were vocal about.

Cawley and other members of the council are headed to Olympia for two days to meet with lawmakers to discuss funding for gang violence and downtown improvement projects.