Environmental testing begins at the mill site

YAKIMA, Wash. -- "I'm 72 years old and I was born and raised here. I've seen Yakima grow and fall down and grow so, yeah, I'd love to see it."

Allen Beaudry lives across the street from the old mill in Yakima where worked for 37 years. So did his dad and his son. He knows what the place meant to the economy in its heyday. And, what developing it into something new could mean again.

"I think it's a great idea I really do. We need a lot of new stuff in Yakima, as far as I'm concerned," said Allen.

"It's very exciting that we are getting close to actually starting project implementation," said Joan Davenport, City Project Manager.

Environmental contractors are now testing the property for contamination.

Their results will determine if the land can be used at all after being a saw mill for a hundred years.

"We are examining the soil for several things. The first is the depth of the groundwater and the condition of the groundwater," said Joan Davenport.

The tests will look for petroleum like motor oil, diesel fuel and gasoline as well as other chemicals that can threaten animals and people.

Results of the environmental testing are due back by late summer. Based on the findings, the city will then decide how to move forward and if they will in fact buy the land.

It's land that could be used to build new streets as well as the East - West Corridor talked about for years.

The tests focus on 45 acres that includes the old city-run landfill.
It would set the stage for the necessary cleanup.

"I'm waiting for it. I see it cleaned up every time I drive by it, I see it getting better and better," said Allen Beaudry.

It's the latest step for turning a place that once thrived into something new.