City manager says council will likely kill Yakima plaza
YAKIMA, Wash. -- With a vast majority of voters saying they don’t support the downtown plaza, it appears the project has died.
The vote however, was strictly advisory, and Yakima City Council has the final say.
Bruce Smith of Preserve Downtown Parking, a group that’s against the plaza, says he expects the council will honor the will of the voters.
"This was not a close vote. This was not a 48 to 52, this was a 70 to 30. I don’t know how the people of Yakima can make themselves any clearer. And, if in fact, the Yakima City Council was asking for advice, they got it," said Smith.
The Yakima Central Plaza Committee, the group in favor of the plaza, says they’re clearly upset with the results.
And when asked if they have a plan B, Casey Corr said this: "No. This was the city’s best and only plan."
Corr, however, says they won’t be intimidated by the results.
Although they don't have another plan in the works yet, they hope to continue to come up with ways to better the city and help with economic development.
But, they need everyone’s help, even calling upon Preserve Downtown Parking.
"We are committed to building a better Yakima, but we need partners. Partners in the city, partners in the city council, and we need our opponents to step up with some constructive ideas, as well," said Corr.
So far, the city says around $1.2 million have been spent on the project, and that half of the money has come from donors.
The big question is: Will the donors get their money back?
"According to the contracts that we have with donors, if the project isn’t going to go forward, they request a refund and then we provide that refund to them, in a timely fashion," said City Manager Cliff Moore.
Moore says the city will have to pay the money back, plus 3 percent interest, which starts accruing from the time that the donor requests the refund, until the time the city pays it back.
He says the city has received $1.7 million of the donations so far, and if the project doesn't go forward, they plan to get the refunds back, as quickly as possible.