Our Voice: Cohesive development would benefit Tri-Cities

The Tri-Cities is on the brink of something amazing if all the development proposals currently sparking discussion come to fruition.

Trouble is, these opportunities might not reach their full potential if agencies don't work together.

The players in the community must make a more concerted effort to look beyond their own boundaries and consider how their plans can fit with their neighbors' projects.

It's easy for elected officials to focus on their own jurisdictions. However, the community would be better served if they all took a more cohesive approach. When it comes to future developments, it makes sense to link together what we can.

It's a bit like two green thumbs living next door to each other and sharing a strip of land between them. They each could do their own thing, and the result would be a hodge-podge of pretty plants. Or, they could work together and design an extraordinary garden walkway they both would enjoy.

If community leaders put in the effort and used their imaginations, they could come up with all sorts of complementary visitor attractions that linked the entire Tri-Cities.

For example, Kennewick and Pasco are eager to improve their downtown areas near their sides of the cable bridge.

Kennewick port and city officials are looking to turn Columbia Drive between the blue and cable bridges into a boutique wine village. The plan already has generated a great deal of interest from entrepreneurs and it's only in the beginning phases.

The goal is to attract wineries, shops and restaurants, making the north gateway to Kennewick more inviting.

It's an exciting idea, but it would be even better if there could be a connection between Kennewick's plans and Pasco's, where two other opportunities are being pursued. The Port of Pasco is starting master planning for the waterfront area across the river from the Kennewick project, while the city of Pasco is working with the Downtown Development Authority on revitalizing the downtown district next to port land.

These are just three development projects that jump out for some kind of eventual connection. There certainly are others that could be incorporated into a communitywide vision if people used their imaginations.

The Tri-Cities is so named because of the close proximity of Pasco, Richland and Kennewick. Visitors don't differentiate among the three cities like those who live here do.

There are a lot of exciting proposals on the horizon and if we work together, it could be phenomenal.