City says Yakima plaza won't affect 2019 budget
YAKIMA, Wash. -- With recent news over the city’s 2019 budget concerns, some may be wondering where cuts can be made.
Bruce Smith, spokesperson for Preserve Downtown Parking, a group which is against the plaza, says they know of one way – don’t build the plaza.
"Stevie Wonder could’ve seen this coming. And the fact that the council has now admitted it, really just means it would be an insane decision to go forward with the plaza and all of the bills it's gonna cost," said Smith.
But City Spokesperson Randy Beehler says building the plaza will have zero effect on the city’s budget.
He says the plaza will be built with bonds and loans, and the city won’t have to shell out a dime for five years because of the over $9 million in donations.
And plaza supporter, John Baule says by hosting festivals, concerts, and events, the plaza will be the answer to the city’s financial problems.
"The fact of the city budget being in such dire straits, this is a great opportunity. We need this now more than ever, because it's an opportunity to bring more revenue into the community," said Baule.
In addition to budget concerns, Smith says another concern for locals is parking.
"They don’t wanna lose that downtown parking, and they don’t think it's fair to the people that paid for the parking lot that it be converted into something else," said Smith.
One hundred and forty of the parking spaces will be taken away from the lot if the plaza comes to fruition, but Baule says there’ll still be over 550 parking spots within two to three blocks.
"There is more than ample space. I think a lot of it is perception, as opposed to reality. I mean it is convenient, there’s no question about that," said Baule.
Whatever voters decide, those who are for and against the plaza will learn of its fate come November 6th.