Port of Douglas County Embarks on Study of Odabashian Bridge Area – News Release

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March 4, 2013

Contact: Lisa Parks, Port of Douglas County executive director, (509) 884-4700, lisa@portofdouglas.org

Port of Douglas County Embarks on Study of Odabashian Bridge Area

EAST WENATCHEE- In a project that aims to boost job growth, economic development and tourism, the Port of Douglas County will study ways to further develop land near the Odabashian Bridge on the east side of the Columbia River.

The North End Master Plan and Feasibility Study was selected for funding by the Douglas County Regional Council. Two firms, Berk of Seattle and RH2 Engineering Inc. of East Wenatchee, have been retained to do the work.

The primary study area in question is located within the East Wenatchee urban growth area, bounded on the north by Highway 2/97, on the south by Goldcrest Street, on the west by the river, and on the east by Highway 28. (please see attached map). In the 1990s, the same area was the site of a proposed shopping mall that never materialized.

“Property in this area has been zoned for some type of general commercial, tourist commercial or waterfront mixed-use for more than 15 years,” said Lisa Parks, executive director of the Port of Douglas County. “But development has largely been held up due to inadequate utilities and transportation infrastructure, and the lack of a cohesive and a cost-effective plan among several public entities to enable that work to get done.

“This location is one of the last underdeveloped areas in the Greater Wenatchee Metropolitan Area. It features amazing views of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers, the upper valley and the North Cascades. It is the goal of the Port to help develop and implement a public infrastructure investment strategy that will help facilitate future private investment,” Parks said.

The Port project will study ways to improve traffic circulation and utility services in the area; will identify what industry sectors would be an ideal fit; will help prioritize public investment needs and ways to stimulate private investment; and will facilitate development of a collaborative master plan that complies with land-use and environmental regulations.

A key component throughout the process will be property owner and stakeholder engagement. The project has the support of several other agencies and jurisdictions, including the City of East Wenatchee. Berk and RH2 Engineering anticipate completing the work by fall 2013.

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PORT OF DOUGLAS COUNTY

NORTH END MASTER PLAN AND FEASIBILITY STUDY FACT SHEET

Background
More than 15 years ago, the Odabashian Bridge area in Douglas County was the scene of a contentious fight over whether a new shopping mall should be built. In the end, the project was nixed. Since then, these 300‐plus acres — zoned either general commercial or waterfront mixed‐use — have remained largely underdeveloped. This has likely been primarily due to inadequate utilities and roads, and the lack of a cohesive and collaborative plan to provide these public facilities. The services that are located in the area are provided by multiple agencies.

The property, which is within the City of East Wenatchee’s urban growth boundary, sits near two major highways (Highway 2/97 and Highway 28). It also is adjacent to the Columbia River and the Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail and offers stunning views of the Cascades, the Wenatchee Foothills, and the city of Wenatchee. A map of the overall area is included with this fact sheet.

North End Master Plan and Feasibility Study process
To facilitate economic opportunities and job growth, including recreation tourism, the Port of Douglas County is conducting a capital facilities study and a market analysis of the area this year. The Port received a grant from the Douglas County Regional Council for this collaborative project, which has the support of several other agencies and jurisdictions, including the City of East Wenatchee. This planning work also will help facilitate future development in complying with land‐use and environmental regulations.

Two firms, BERK of Seattle and RH2 Engineering Inc. of East Wenatchee, have been retained to do the bulk of the work. In consultation with the port district, they will: Collect existing studies, land‐use and real estate information and economic data on the Odabashian Bridge area and on North Central Washington; Analyze the infrastructure in the Odabashian Bridge area, including identifying how to improve traffic circulation and how to extend wastewater services; Interview property owners, community leaders and business owners; Conduct a market analysis of the area, including determining what kind of businesses and sectors might be interested in developing the area; Hold stakeholder meetings, including helping property owners develop a shared understanding of the market opportunities and the value to them of collective action; Prioritize public and private investment needs, and strategize how to stimulate investment.

Community comment
During the early part of 2013, research and analysis on the market and economic conditions will be ongoing, as will outreach to the existing property owners. It is the goal of the Port to develop a public investment strategy for infrastructure that will help facilitate future private investment. The Port will be taking public comment as the project proceeds, and as such, the Port commissioners and staff are always open to discussing these issues with individual community members.

Mail: Port of Douglas County, 3306 Fifth St. N.E., East Wenatchee, 98802

Email: lisa@portofdouglas.org Phone: (509) 884‐4700 Website: www.portofdouglas.org

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