City Council votes to stop downtown business incubator plans

City Council votes to stop downtown business incubator plans

YAKIMA, Wash. - Yakima City Council members voted five to two to stop plans on building a city business incubator in downtown Yakima.

Mayor Kathy Coffey said the incubator was going to be used to create jobs and help those wanting to run a small business get on their feet.

"We're always looking for opportunities for new jobs and the incubator is for people that have an idea for a new business but don't have the tools and/or the capital to invest in that," she said.

While Coffey was in favor of the project and has been working on it since 2014, she was out voted by other council members.

Councilman Jason White began the motion to discontinue incubator plans and said money was one of the big reasons he didn't think the city could take on the project right now. He said it was a $7.5 million project and an additional $400,000 a year to operate.

"With the current financial situation of the city being in debt, it didn't make sense," White said. "It didn't make sense at all budget-wise. It was just a burden that we could not even think about taking on."

Although the city is stopping plans on this project, White said the goal isn't to dismiss small business owners.

"The goal to assist local business is still a top priority, and to facilitate those," he said. "Is what we're going to move into more of a role of a facilitator."

Local business owners such as Joe Mann showed support for the incubator at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"I think there's a lot of people in the valley that want to start businesses," Mann said. "They don't know how or where and this gives them a opportunity, but also an education."

Although the city took business incubator plans off the table, Mayor Coffey said a lot of business owners in the community support it and they may try to revive the project and bring it back to the councils' attention in the future.

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