Union Gap extending key street to attract more business

UNION GAP, Wash. -- More development is coming to Union Gap. Plans call for extending a key street. The hope is to bring more business and boost the local economy. KIMA found out what's being done and how much it will cost.

Drive down Longfibre past the Lowe's and Costco, and you'll hit a dead end. South of Ahtanum, the road turns into dirt. The land on either side, vacant.

Union Gap wants to change that.

"There's people expanding that want to find places to expand to."

Councilman Mark Carney is talking about business owners. He believes, if you build the road, they will come. Extending Longfibre Road would take it from Ahtanum down to Pine Street, near La Salle High School.

"Now you've got a way for people to get in and out of their properties," said Carney. "They can develop them with trucks and get their product out to market, and get their materials in to build the products."

Brian Warren agrees. He's a vice president at Magic Metals, a local custom steel company. His facility is down the road from Longfibre.

"It expanded a lot of businesses down this road. And, I'm sure it would do the same for that extension as well."

An extension would cost nearly $2 million. Most will come in the form of grants and loans. The rest, likely private contributions. Union Gap will kick in a small amount.

The Yakima County Development Association says there's already interest in the surrounding property. One business wants to put a warehouse distribution center. It would employ about 60 people. A current local business is interested in transferring to the open land.

Union Gap also believes a Longfibre extension would keep trucks off Main Street and help the downtown revitalization.

It's all part of Union Gap's plan to take a new road for more growth.

The work is expected to be ready by summer of next year. Union Gap leaders will meet with Yakima County officials tomorrow to finalize the funding application.