Downtown Yakima plaza needs more than a million dollars to reach goal

Downtown Yakima plaza needs more than a million dollars to reach goal. (Photo courtesy of John Cooper.)

YAKIMA, Wash.- Mentioning the word plaza around Yakima could be the easiest way to send people into a frenzy.

However, with only a little over a million dollars left to reach their $9 million goal, it's almost one more step closer to being a reality.

With less than four weeks to raise that money, John Cooper, who is on the plaza steering committee, said isn't worried about not hitting their mark.

“I don't have any doubts,” he said. “I think with the support of the community and the outreach efforts the committee is doing.”

So, what happens if they don't make the deadline? That's a good question. That no one knows the answer to.

The city council allowed the collection of money until December 31st, but never said what happens after that.

People with the city say it would have to be determined by the current council at the end of the year.

While there is no clear answer for after this year, it’s clear that a lot of the parking in downtown would be taken up by the plaza.

Mark Peterson, owns H&H Furniture, said some businesses near downtown are worried this will only make it harder to get people in the door.

“We have the valley mall, we have people on the west side that go shopping in that area,” he said. “They don't want to come down now and now we are making it worse.”

Peterson said if parking wasn't an issue before, it will be.

He also said the city has bigger problems to deal with, like how to help homeless people get off the streets.

“We have some real areas of concern and this is just throwing a huge amount of money,” Peterson said. “Just like they did with the bins of light and they got put in backwards. So, the city just doesn't have any credibility on this.”

Cooper said they have received pledged from $10 a month to tens of thousands of dollars at the time.

He said there is even a chance they will go over their goal and all the extra money will go toward the project as well.

Whether you want the plaza or not, it looks like we'll at least know if the money is going to be there by the end of the year.

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