Councilwoman plans to fight for Yakima plaza, despite will of voters

    Councilwoman plans to fight for Yakima plaza, despite will of voters<p>{/p}

    YAKIMA, Wash. -- The discussion of the plaza will return at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.

    Council is expected to vote on whether or not to move forward with the project, now that election results have been certified.

    Most council members have said that they will honor the will of the voters, but Councilwoman Carmen Mendez says she has to stay true to herself.

    "I will make the decision with the information that I have knowing what is best for Yakima, and that even might go against with what the citizens of Yakima voted," she said.

    Mendez says she plans to vote to still move forward with the plaza, despite about 67 percent of voters being against it.

    She says the city has no plan 'B' for a central gathering space, and if the city kills this project, it’ll be nearly impossible to ask donors to fund anything else in the future.

    "We have no trust among the philanthropic community, and I don’t think they would trust that we would do whatever we said that we would with the money," said Mendez.

    But, Councilman Jason White isn't worried.

    "Only 30 percent of the people were for the plaza, so that means that there’s still 70 percent of the public that would still want to see other projects succeed and wanna see other things succeed," said White.

    And he says he has a plan 'B', and it's been under the city’s nose all along.

    "My philosophy’s always been to take care of what you have, before you build something new. And, what we have is Naches Ave that’s starting to get a little bit of attention, but it needs so much more attention to be what it should be, and it could be that community gathering space that they were basically arguing for," said White.

    Will the plaza live on? The public will soon find out.

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