Final Phase of Improving Downtown Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Final Phase of Improving Downtown Yakima

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YAKIMA, Wash.- Take a walk on Yakima Avenue and you'll notice smoother sidewalks and a more attractive and inviting appearance. Now the next step is to add more room for pedestrians around the convention center.

"It's important we show that the convention center is related to what we're doing downtown and that we want more opportunities for their visitors," said Morales.  

The fourth and final phase of improving downtown Yakima will add a plaza on 8th Street and continue beautifying the roads. The owner of downtown restaurant, The Depot, believes the first 3 phases of the project have already changed the area.

"Once you make a place hospitable then the entrepreneurs feel safe to come in to invest, take a risk and then there's a snowball effect," said Karl Pasten, who owns The Depot.

Morales says they started improving downtown two years ago and since then they've acquired 24 new businesses and close to 200 new jobs.

"There's no other downtown in this state that can match that turn around in the time that we've seen here in Yakima," said Morales.

City employees have drafted plans to fix crosswalks, improve irrigations systems and continue expanding pedestrian walkways in the area. They're now waiting for funds.

"We're in the money seeking step right now," said Morales.           

And they hope to turn in final bids for construction by early summer.