Plans are shaping up for the future of Downtown Yakima

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima held its second meeting to discuss the future of downtown.
More than 150 people showed up at the convention center to share their input.

"I'm very excited that there's plans and I hope the city steps up to the plate and accepts the recommendations and goes for it," said Chuck Forster.

These recommendations were presented at the Master Plan workshop on Wednesday night. People in the audience voiced their opinions about how to revitalize the city.

"Some big things I would like to see are some bike space and some green space really," said Dan Richmond.

The city hired two consulting firms to draft plans to revitalize downtown.

Some of the ideas include putting in a trolley and creating bike friendly streets. There are also plans to redirect some of the traffic from Yakima Avenue on to other streets so more people can enjoy walking and eating along the street.

"I think Yakima has a lot of potential that I think not many people recognize. I think bringing the business in and bringing the tourism in and even the residents of Yakima, downtown is going to be huge for the area," said Katie Martin.

One major portion of the plan is to create an open outdoor market area that would include benches under the shade of trees and a paved open space that can hold events such as concerts and farmer's markets.

The city plans to keep the traditions and history of the city in mind as it moves forward. The plans will be carried out in phases, so as to keep the cost under control.

"It's new, anything new is exciting, change is awesome, so this will hopefully be a good new beginning for Yakima," said Amy Noble.

A goal that is certainly shared by the city, with their hopes to make downtown a retail and entertainment destination.

A firm out of Portland is heading up the downtown master plan process.
The first phase may begin as early as next year.
There are two alternative options for the downtown plaza area.
Costs from private investments for the plaza area alone are as high as $77.5 million.