By Jill Sander, March 13, 2013, KNDU
NBC Right Now continues to follow the ongoing debate over the future of Vista Field.
Port of Kennewick commissioners are reviewing a study about the options for potential development of Vista Field and approved the study Tuesday.
This move allows the board to take the next step to determine who will decide what the land will be used for, the public or the commissioners.
“Whether it’s redeveloped and expanded and made a very, very nice airport or whether it’s closed and redeveloped it’s going to be a tremendous asset to the Tri-Cities community and that’s what the Port of Kennewick wants to do. We want to create an asset,” said Skip Novakovich, Port of Kennewick Commissioner.
The port said they want the future of Vista Field to be something this community can be proud of.
Vista Field currently faces many challenges and Tuesday, port commissioners reviewed a study that looked into three options for the land.
A no action option to leave the airport with its 2011 agreement, option one for $43 million expansion of the airport or option two to close the airport and redevelop it for commercial use.
“The feasible scenarios for keeping Vista Field open are limited and are representative of their best optimal form in our professional opinion by option one,” said Michael Mahaffy from Duany Plater-Zyberk and Co., who prepared the study.
The consulting firm that prepared the study may favor an airport expansion, but the public disagrees.
The report included over 100 public comments and a majority of them support redeveloping the land.
“That’s one thing the commissioners want to weigh in real heavily on is what does the public say. What do they really want to see,” Novakovich said.
The board will now review the report and decide if the public or the commissioners will decide the land’s future.
“It has all the economic benefits, has an environmental impact issues, it deals with cost analysis, deals with income, everything we could possibly think of to come to a decision,” Novakovich said.
Port commissioners said they plan to come to a decision in April whether the issue will go to a vote of the people or the commissioners.