Locals can vote over downtown plaza in November

Locals can vote over downtown plaza in November

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Despite having the funds, the city has gone back and forth on making the Downtown Central Plaza a reality, due to the pushback they’ve received from Preserve Downtown Parking, a group who is strongly against the project.

At last night’s council meeting, in a 4-3 vote, council decided to put the plaza on the November ballot, giving the people of Yakima an opportunity to have their voices heard.

“We’re more than happy to let the people decide this issue. And frankly, if the public comes out and strongly opposes it, the vote really should be 7-0 on this on the city council,” said Bruce Smith of Preserve Downtown Parking.

He says the same should go if the results are otherwise.

“By the same token, if the ballot comes back 7-0 strongly in favor of it, it should be 7-0 to build it. I mean, the people have spoken,” said Smith.

City Manager Cliff Moore says they’ve already started to work on putting it on the ballot.

“The exact language for that ballot would be, ‘Should the city of Yakima construct a community plaza on the parking lot directly west of the Capitol Theatre?’ so staff right now is currently in the process of pulling together all of the information to create that ballot measure,” said Moore.

He says at the July 10th city council meeting, council will revisit putting this on the ballot, and a finalized version will be complete by August 6th.

Smith says by allowing the public to have a say in the project, he believes the plaza won’t be happening anytime soon.

“We absolutely are convinced that a vast majority of people in this town do not want that, and that’s been our position for many, many years, and frankly, I think the people on the other side believe that too,” he said.

There are people for it and people against it, but as of right now, the future of the plaza hangs in the balance.

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