Port of Benton, Richland recognized for economic recruitment efforts

Tri-City Herald, February 10, 2015

The city of Richland and Port of Benton recently were selected as Washington Economic Development Association’s 2014 Recruitment Project of the Year for the Revitalization Area for Industry, Science and Education, or RAISE, project in north Richland.


The partnership between the city and port used Local Revitalization Financing to support about $11 million in infrastructure bonds for Horn Rapids Industrial Park and the Tri-Cities Research District.


Richland City Manager Cindy Johnson said, “Our city council showed progressive leadership when they approved the RAISE and continue to be supportive of our strong partnership with the Port of Benton. The success this project has created is just the beginning and we look forward to more opportunities for our community.”


These improvements have helped the city and port recruit Preferred Freezer Services to the Horn Rapids Industrial Park, creating 100 new jobs.


The project also was instrumental in the development of the Washington State University Tri-Cities Wine Science Center, a $23 million teaching and research facility that helps place the Tri-Cities at the center of the state’s growing wine industry.


The new development supported by the project is causing Benton County to project an increase in land valuation for 2015 of $31 million. This has allowed Richland to pay the debt on the bonds while keeping the tax rate low.


“The great part of this is the recognition of the team effort, which takes place more often than people realize,” said Diahann Howard, the port’s director of economic development. “The RAISE project continues to see many other positive recruitment outcomes, which was also our goal. We are uniquely positioned with some great assets — land, rail, highway, barge, low utility cost and broadband, low cost of business and skilled workforce.”


The association also recognized the Columbia River Economic Development Council of Vancouver, Wash. Both were chosen out of projects nominated from across the state.


“(The city and port’s project) was creative, forward-thinking; it was complex and it involved multiple partners and, maybe most important, it worked,” stated Denise Dryer, one of the association’s executive committee members, in a statement.

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