Yakima capitalizes on partnerships for city improvements

YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's not the most glamorous work, but improving the city's streets, sewer lines and infrastructure have an impact.

The city currently has more than $26-million of capital improvements in the works for 2012.

In an economy where money is tight, Yakima is capitalizing on partnerships with companies and groups like Washington Fruit and Produce Company, the Yakima School District and the Apple Valley Kiwanis Club.

Those deals helped secure the funding.

"Having the other players there to show that the other participants are interested enough to put that kind of money in to the game, goes a long ways," said Yakima City Engineer Doug Mayo.

Projects this year include the upper section of Kiwanis Park, widening the street at 64th Avenue between Tieton and Nob Hill and ongoing work like the Sawmill redevelopment.

One major project is the widening of River Road between 6th and 16th Avenues.

KIMA went to check out that section of road, and with semi truck after semi truck driving down it, it was clear things were a little tight.

Washington Fruit and Produce Company and Stanton Academy are helping the city add a car lane, bicycle lane and sidewalks along the busy truck route.

David McFadden with the Yakima County Development Association says work like this promotes business growth.

"Infrastructure investments really do create a springboard for growth in our community so this round of investments, I think, will make a difference in the regional economy," said New Vision President David McFadden.

City engineers say similar projects have led to huge private investments.

The city also says private developers that put off jobs are now starting to come back.

Other projects include significant improvements to the city's wastewater and irrigation divisions.

Action News learned there are plans for private construction to build a new panda express and taco bell in West Yakima.