Development takes initial step forward with mill site - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Development takes initial step forward with mill site

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New information about the old Cascade Mill and future plans for the site...

Yakima County's SEID Board approves a $25,000 grant request to pay for a planning study.

That study will look at the infrastructure needed to support future development.

The ownership group also offered up some details about what they plan to do with the property.

A new day dawns for the old Cascade lumber mill.

The 200-acre site represents prime real estate off Interstate 82 that's ripe for development.

"I've been wondering when they are going to do something," says Gene Lizotte, who has lived in a house next door to the site for 37-years.

But for nearly two years - since the plywood mill closed down - there has been no movement in that direction.

"We've been focused on environmental studies.  We are working the city on getting titles ready," says Brad Hill, a representative for the ownership group that owns the site.

Hill says they plan to divide the site into several different uses; included in the mix will be an area for residential homes, as well as room for retail, commercial and light industrial businesses.

The actual development could start within two years.

But first, major infrastructure improvements will be needed to get the site ready for development.

The city is looking at a possible exit that will provide direct access off the interstate.

"I'll miss the mill and the horns we used to hear when the workers had to go back to work," says Lizotte.

She welcomes progress and certainly prefers new development to the eye sore that the empty mill has become, but also recognizes that it provided well paying jobs to the community and has many friends who used to work there.

The planning study is expected to be finished in early June.

Yakima city leaders will then apply for millions in state funding to help pay for the infrastructure improvements.