KENNEWICK, Wash. - A consulting firm hired by the Port of Kennewick has gathered public input on Vista Field and now the big stakeholders are weighing in.
For the time being the future of Vista Field is up in the air. The consulting firm came up with three options: shut down the airport, expand it or redevelop the land. The public was split. Some want to keep it open while others want to redevelop.
Now, as stakeholders say their piece, it seems redeveloping is the top choice for them.
"This is an important issue for the entire community and within the port district. It will have a lasting impact regardless of what decision... It will have a lasting impact on the community for years to come," said Tana Bader Inglima of the Port of Kennewick.
The Port is leaving no stone unturned as they wade through this issue. West Richland is part of the Port's taxing base and Mayor Donna Noski said their city council has praised the Port for their process in deciding, especially the analysis and transparency of it all.
Now, after reviewing the initial report, West Richland has taken a position on the matter. They want Vista Field redeveloped.
"It really boils down to economic vitality and the opportunities there seem to be much greater than with the airport remaining open," Noski said.
The Kennewick Public Facilities District also told the Port they want Vista Field redeveloped and the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce plans to send the port a letter expressing their concerns, as well.
Noski said redeveloping would have far reaching benefits.
"The income off the property could serve the broader port district rather than just a few residents and users of Vista Field," Noski said.
"At this point, the consultant is taking that information and rolling that together and will be presenting a final report to our community probably the first part of March," Inglima said.
Once the consultants have that final report for the Port of Kennewick, commissioners will then decide what to decide. They could put this issue up for a public vote or they could make the decision themselves.