Every 2 years, the City Council establishes specific goals designed to guide the work of the City. Following 2 community forums, the Council held a goal-setting retreat at the end of April 2014. The 17 goals which grew out of the retreat were adopted by the Council on May 19, 2014. The goals are:
Industrial Development: the Pasco community relies on one of the lower “per capita” assessed values (total taxable property value divided by total population) in the state. The City needs to foster more industrial investment to increase the non-residential tax base and, in turn, improve the ability of local public agencies to deliver needed services. The City has worked diligently with its partners (Port, PUD, County, etc.) to create “development ready” industrial sites, particularly the Heritage Industrial Center, Foster Wells area and along the SR12 corridor. The City will continue to partner with the Port, TRIDEC and others to focus on the development of “professional wage” jobs through aggressively marketing industrial development opportunities and will provide sewer service to the Kartchner interchange industrial area.
Road 68 Congestion: the extent and nature of urban growth on the plateau, combined with the limitations imposed by the current configuration of the Road 68 interchange at I-182, have led to a pattern of intolerable congestion at the intersection of Road 68 and Burden Blvd. Though the City has made numerous improvements, and has plans to make additional improvements, the most promising solutions require modification to the I-182 freeway and are, therefore, subject to approval of WSDOT and FHWA. The City will construct an additional south (Road 68) to west bound (I-182) right turn lane at the Road 68 interchange, obtain approvals for additional on/off ramps east of Road 68, and plan for the completion of the necessary linkages surrounding the Road 68/I-182 corridor.
Police Station: the explosion of residential growth in the City over the past decade has led to a corresponding increase in City staff necessary to sustain and improve municipal services. The Police Department has outgrown available space at the civic center which is at capacity for virtually all departments. Voter approval of a sales tax for public safety purposes in 2011 provides the City with a funding source which should allow the issuance of bonds for the construction of a new police station. To that end, the City will construct and occupy a new police station by 2016.
Senior Center: while the City’s population has grown dramatically over the last 15 years, citizen use of the Senior Center has declined. The decline in use is a result of a changing culture and an older population which is more active in lifestyle and less interested in traditional “senior citizens” programming. The large size of the facility and its declining use has resulted in an imbalance in resources to community benefit. Believing that there is still a need for specialized services and programs for the senior population, as well as all other age groups, the City will provide an appropriately sized and located Community Center to replace the current facility.
Northwest Area Utilities: the northwest corner of the City’s urban growth area represents an area of approximately 2,000 acres; including the acreage near the Road 100/I-182 interchange, which is designated as the City’s primary future growth area. With the availability of urban utility services, the area will develop in an efficient and orderly pattern; without such services, primarily sewer, the area will not develop to urban levels and much land will be underutilized. In order to assure that the City can foster appropriate development in this area, the City will complete Phase 1 of the Northwest Element of the City’s Sewer Services Plan.
Priority Parks Facilities: while rapid growth of the City’s residential housing stock has resulted in demands for new neighborhood parks (paid for by park impact fees on new building permits), the size of the community creates a demand for more specialized facilities and some larger park and recreation venues. In order to fulfill the growing demand for such facilities, the City will develop a Priority Parks Facilities Plan and implement Phase I of the plan.
Emergency Communications: for more than 30 years, the City has relied on the Franklin County Sheriff for emergency communication services (police and fire). Operational and technological constraints along with growth of the City have led to an increasingly ineffective emergency system. Regionalization of call processing and dispatch services has been evaluated and promises to be the most cost effective and reliable way to assure future emergency communication services for the public as well as emergency responders. To that end, the City Council will diligently work to complete the transition to a single Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the Tri-Cities region and convert law enforcement communications to 800 MHZ.
Lewis Street Overpass: the existing underpass (now 77 years old) continues to show signs of deterioration, posing an eventual threat to public safety as well as potential harm to the BNRR system which has mainline tracks over it. The City has secured the necessary right-of-way and has completed final design, thus making the project “shovel ready” but cannot afford to finance construction of the project. Thus, the City will work to obtain state and federal funding commitments for at least 85% of the estimated $31 million project construction cost.
DNR: the state Department of Natural Resources controls the western half of the property adjacent to the City’s busiest freeway interchange – I-182/Road 68 – and gateway to the center of commercial activity in Pasco. As DNR’s experience/focus is largely on rural property, it is ill-equipped to manage property within an urbanizing area. While limited commercial development has been established in the quadrant north of I-182, the property lease required by DNR effectively discourages retail developers, indirectly harming the Pasco community. Further, while the City was successful in securing legislative direction to DNR requiring the sale of residential property south of the anticipated Chapel Hill Boulevard extension, continued DNR control of the commercial property (and its use for farming) at this high traffic interchange neither benefits the state nor allows the City the advantage of urbanization (highest and best use) of the property in this area and conflicts with objectives of the state’s Growth Management Act. To address this issue, the City will work to foster the earliest feasible and appropriate development of commercial property at the Road 68 interchange; facilitate the extension of Chapel Hill Blvd from Road 84 to Road 68; and prepare to accommodate residential development on property south of the Chapel Hill extension.
Animal Shelter: the Tri-Cities Animal Control Authority (ACA) was formed in 1998 as a cooperative effort between the cities of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco. In 2001, the City purchased the shelter formerly occupied by the Humane Society (located in Pasco) and leased it to the ACA. With the facility reaching 50 years of age, the costs of maintenance are beginning to become unreasonable. More importantly, the facility no longer has adequate capacity to house the number of impounded animals, as the population of the 3 cities has grown dramatically in the past 15 years. As the operating agency for the ACA, Pasco must assume a leadership role to address the need for a new facility and a shelter plan was proposed in 2009. While a site for a new facility has been identified and is generally accepted by all 3 cities, there is no consensus on when and how to move forward. Pasco will foster agreement on a shelter replacement plan, and have a new animal shelter under construction by 2016.
Annexation: the City’s Urban Growth Area (UGA) was designated by Franklin County, to include all of the area south of I-182, in 1993. Since that time, the City has planned utility and transportation infrastructure as well as the siting of other important public facilities to serve the entire UGA. When City water service has been extended to properties outside the City limits but within the UGA, the extension has been conditioned on agreement (binding on successor owners), granting the City the power of attorney to sign a future annexation petition on behalf of the property owner. Clearly, the most efficient delivery of services to the “donut hole” will come about upon annexation, as the City already has most of the staffing and infrastructure in place to serve the area. Additionally, a ballot issue in November 2013 resulted in 70% of city voters confirming that the donut hole should be part of Pasco. For these reasons, the City will reduce the size of the unincorporated “donut hole” through continued orderly annexation.
Gang Prevention/Suppression: Pasco has managed its gang problem relatively well, but the problem requires constant vigilance. The growth of gang activities in the region could lead to escalation of criminal and nuisance activities in Pasco. In addition to the deployment of a new street crimes police unit, the City will encourage gang prevention programs by assisting in the provision of program facilities while improving the effect of its graffiti abatement program.
Oregon Avenue: Oregon Avenue is a major arterial serving a primary industrial area of the City. Recent efforts with WSDOT have produced an agreement on concepts for development of the roadway to more adequately accommodate traffic and better serve adjacent property which is intended to encourage more private investment in that vicinity. To that end, the City will complete Phase 1 of the Oregon Avenue Improvement Plan.
Downtown Revitalization: as have many older urban centers, the downtown business district continues to struggle in its effort to revitalize itself. The formation of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority and the recent contracting with a downtown revitalization consultant will help the new organization take its first steps toward revitalization. To further encourage downtown improvement efforts, the City will complete the design of the 1-way couplet system proposed to accommodate the Lewis Street Overpass and determine the feasibility and appropriate timing of the project, as it will present significant opportunity for streetscape renovations in the downtown core.
Neighborhood Revitalization: residential areas in the central portion of the City include many homes approaching 60-75 years of age. Designed for a different age, the neighborhoods often lack adequate off-street parking, experience higher population densities, and are frequently characterized by planting strips with large (and often problematic) shade trees. To address these issues, the City will implement the neighborhood revitalization plan for the area between 10th and 5th Avenues.
Waterfront Plan: over the past decade, the City has made notable improvements along the Columbia River shoreline. Both the City and the Port of Pasco control a significant amount of shoreline property east of the Cable Bridge. Given the unique opportunity to develop the area as an economic and recreational asset, the City will work in partnership with the Port of Pasco to develop and implement a common plan for redevelopment of the waterfront area between the Cable Bridge and Osprey Point.
Marine Terminal Rail Spur: a Burlington Northern rail spur line extends from its main line, westerly, then circling to the east to service the Port of Pasco’s marine terminal area. With only 1 remaining tenant in the area receiving rail service, the line will have no further use after 2015. Given the wide right-of-way adjacent to much of the spur, there is significant potential for development and redevelopment of property if the railroad will agree to removal of the spur and disposal of the associated right-of-way. In order to encourage the eventual redevelopment of the area, the City will foster an agreement with BNSF and the Port of Pasco for the removal of the unnecessary rail spur west of the mainline and plan for the redevelopment of associated lands.