YAKIMA, Wa. -- Yakima city leaders are listening to what the community has to say about the North 1st Street Revitalization Project.
A listening session took place tonight at Fair Bridge Inn where over 60 community members came out to speak on the project.
Many neighbors in the area say they are excited to have the project started after so many years and think it will be good for the community.
“To have opportunities to own a small property or lease a small store front and start to have some entrepreneurship opportunities for that community,” said community member Joshua Hicks.
“Well I’m glad that they kept the bike lanes in the project so to that extent we’re happy we would’ve liked to have seen the protected bike lanes,” said community member Phil Hoge.
The North 1st Street Revitalization Project is the reconstruction of about 1.5 miles of roadway, rebuilding sidewalks, installing new lighting, building median islands, redirecting utility lines and enhancing landscaping along North 1st Street corridor from U.S Highway 12 to MLK, Jr. Boulevard.
Yakima City councilman Jason White says they are trying to work with the community and listen to any concerns they might have with the current project.
“We know that just fixing the sidewalks and stuff is not going to change the demographic of this area so they’re really working with the mission and seeing what we can do to get everybody coming together,” said White.
Some concerns the community brought up included the high amount of homelessness in the area and crime, emphasizing the crosswalks, where the money was coming from to fund the project and much more.
The Yakima Police Department says they are trying to expand their bicycle program and get neighborhood resource officers to patrol certain parts of the city.
The city says the project is intended to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians and increase the economic development potential of that area.
The project is estimated to cost about $15.5 million and will be paid for with a combination of federal transportation funds, city utility funds and money generated from Transportation Benefit District fees.
City leaders say construction on the project could begin as soon as Spring of next year.