Possibility of legal battle may cause obstacle for downtown plaza

Possibility of legal battle may cause obstacle for downtown plaza

YAKIMA, Wash.-- The money is raised. Now what?

“The next steps, as far as we know, are really in the city's court, because it will be a public project. And so, it'll have to go up for bid, and then select a contractor, and then do a timeline for when construction can begin. They're working on that right now,” said John Baule of the Plaza Fundraising Committee.

The committee was able to overcome many hurdles, a $9 million one to be exact. Now, they've given the city the money to move forward with the downtown project they say will be a game changer for the community.

Baule says he'd like for construction to begin as soon as the weather permits, but that the public shouldn't expect to get any use out of it this year.

“We suspect it'll take about a year to construct. Maybe more. You know how these things go. So, probably sometime in 2019, we're hoping. We'd love to have it open by the summer of 2019, but we can't promise anything at this point,” said Baule.

Bruce Smith of the Yakima Valley Business Times says he's shocked the fundraising committee was able to pull this off.

“They surprised me and I think in a sense they surprised themselves that they were as successful as they were, but you gotta give credit where credit is due. They did a good job,” said Smith.

Smith, who says he doesn't support the project, says although the money may be there, he knows some folks who may still put up a fight to keep the plaza from becoming a reality.

“The only recourse left for the people who own property that's adjacent to or near this parking lot is to go to court and sue, and they've got standing to do so, because that parking lot was paid for partially with money they provided. So, they've got the right to say ‘We don't want this parking lot being used for anything but parking,’” said Smith.

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