Verdict: Consultant Says Vista Field Could Succeed With Investment
It will likely come down to the opinion of Kennewick residents.
The consultant working on a definite plan for the future of Vista Field in Kennewick says it could succeed both as an airfield, or as a mixed-use “walkable community.”
Michael Mehaffy of Duany Plater-Zyberk conducted the study on what to do with the 70-year-old airfield. He said making it a premiere airport or redeveloping the 90-acre parcel could both be beneficial. Either option, says Mehaffy, would be better than the current status of the field. The Port of Kennewick has been losing at least $10,000 a year keeping the field open.
One option is to invest and upgrade the facility into a first-rate airfield that would attract related business. It would also improve the facility to the point where such events as air shows could be held there. The other option is to remove the airfield, which has stood on the property since World War II, and redevelop it into a mixed-use walkable community. Specific details of what would be in that community have not yet been released.
According to initial findings, the airport upgrade option would probably require more public investment.
The first draft of the report will be released in January, accompanied by a 30-day comment period, with the final report in February. Port officials plan to let the citizens of Kennewick make the ultimate choice using an advisory vote sometime in early 2013.