City of Kennewick, Port Set to Vote on Wine Village Plan

Kristin M. Kraemer, October 20, 2013, Tri-City Herald

The first phase of a joint plan to remake East Columbia Drive into a wine village could cost the Port of Kennewick and the city up to $1.3 million each.

A proposed agreement released Friday shows how city and port officials hope to create a wine business park in the area between 211 and 421 E. Columbia Drive.

The Kennewick City Council and port commissioners plan separate meetings Tuesday to vote on the proposed interlocal agreement.

The Columbia Gardens phase would require the port to spend $1 million to $1.3 million on building improvements and potential new construction.

Kennewick is looking at spending no more than $800,000 on a wine effluent treatment plant and investing up to $500,000 in redevelopment efforts, like extending the existing nature trail and paving parking lots and driveways.

The two entities will provide staff and financial resources for the projects, and work together to find grant funding, the agreement states. Outside consultants will be used when needed.

Port of Kennewick commissioners meet at 2 p.m. at their administrative offices, 350 Clover Island Drive, Suite 200, to consider the agreement.

And the city council takes up the issue at a special meeting at 6 p.m., before its regular workshop, at city hall, 210 W. Sixth Ave.

The port and city have talked for years about reshaping Kennewick’s historic waterfront.

This proposal would capitalize on the Mid-Columbia’s connection to the wine industry, while using port property between North Gum Street and Clover Island Drive for the revitalization.

“Wineries have shown interest in facility development in the project area because of its central location, access and exposure,” the agreement states.

The first phase could open within two years, with the agreement set to end December 2015.

According to a schematic plan, Columbia Gardens would be a commercial center with room for at least four 50,000-case-per-year wineries, along with a cluster of tasting rooms, professional offices, a demonstration vineyard, an education center and the winery waste treatment plant.

The port would renovate and retrofit the existing building at 421 E. Columbia Drive for wine-related activities like production, storage and sales, or other retail outlets like a farmers’ market and art-related businesses, the agreement shows.

A new building that would exceed 7,500 square feet would be built nearby for similar wine industry uses, unless the port is running short on money by that point. Then, it may consider building a smaller structure or putting up a 115-linear-foot wall along the frontage of 421 Columbia for screening and security.

The port and city will determine if the building at 211 E. Columbia Drive will accommodate the installation of a city wastewater treatment facility for winery effluent, or liquid waste. A portion of that building may also house a winery or a market and other shops.

Kennewick’s wastewater treatment plant can’t take untreated loadings from winery effluent, so it’s looking to see what technology is available, the agreement says. One option is to pre-treat the waste, which then could be discharged into the city sewer system for more treatment.

If the $800,000 isn’t available to complete the treatment plant, the city may need to build a smaller capacity pretreatment facility.

The agreement states that city officials also can modify design elements — like the streetscape on the north side of East Columbia Drive and the nature trail extension — if they don’t have $500,000.

A later phase would be the Willows Wine Village along Clover Island Drive. It would include retail space with upstairs residences, in addition to restaurants, a food court and five incubators for startup wineries.

A third parcel of land known as Cable Greens — formerly a miniature golf course at the base of the cable bridge — would be industrial space for any wineries on the property.

They would be connected by the nature trail that would wrap around neighboring Duffy’s Pond and the levee that separates the pond from the Columbia River and Clover Island.

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