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Economic and dam related articles

Ports Aiding Tri-City Development

by Pratik Joshi
Tri-City Herald, June 26, 2008

Tri-City ports share a common vision of growth and prosperity for the community.

The area's three port districts help develop infrastructure -- be it enhancing the existing transportation network or expanding warehousing capacity -- and provide business opportunities. That means more jobs, stable economic development and a better quality of life for Tri-Citians.

Ports offer the tools and small businesses make it happen, said Tim Arntzen, executive director of the Port of Kennewick, at the annual State of the Ports presentation Wednesday.

About 240 business owners and public officials attended the program sponsored by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce at Red Lion Hotel in Kennewick.

Last year, the Port of Kennewick, in partnership with the city of West Richland, helped set up the $5.7 million Pacific Rim Winery in West Richland. To get the noted California winemaker Randall Grahm to come to the area was no small achievement. Growth follows wherever he makes an investment, Arntzen said.

The wine industry in the Tri-Cities area has grown exponentially in the last few years, partly because the Port of Benton could attract $10 million in private investments at its Vintner's Village in Prosser.

The 32-acre village has about a dozen wineries and the port is negotiating with another one, said Stuart B. Dezember, assistant executive director of the Port of Benton.

The port has plans to develop additional land near the village to bring a bed and breakfast and a cheese manufacturer to the area. It'll nicely complement the wineries, he said. It also will promote tourism.

The Port of Kennewick is also developing Clover Island as a destination. Plans include building a lighthouse, landscaped pathways and a viewing platform, Arntzen said. The port also will construct a new building for the Clover Island Yacht Club, which has been at the island since the mid-'50s, he said.

Developers also have shown interest in building a combination of residential, office and retail space on the island, which would help revive downtown Kennewick, officials say.

The Port of Pasco has spent about $63 million in capital improvements since 2003, and recently, it recruited Syngenta, a Switzerland-based agribusiness, to build a new seed processing facility in Pasco, said the port's executive director Jim Toomey.

The port also has plans to develop 150 acres along the Columbia River shoreline. Enhancements include a landscaped open area, river view corridor and a shoreline lined with native plants.

Pratik Joshi
Ports Aiding Tri-City Development
Tri-City Herald, June 26, 2008

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