Closer to developing Pasco shoreline

Closer to developing Pasco shoreline »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- We first told you about Pasco's plans for a riverwalk last year, with a focus on the property east of the Cable Bridge.

Though you may not see bulldozers or builders in the area, there has been a lot of progress.

Janey and Ernie Nelson have lived near the river shoreline in Pasco for decades. They're now retired and plan to stay.

Janey said, "I like living here. Beautiful view."

It's that view the city and the Port of Pasco are banking on. Plans for waking up this sleepy shoreline are moving forward.

The big picture: entice retail stores to set up shop. Bring in a large hotel to attract tourists. Revamp the marina, parks, trails and beach access to draw even the locals. It's their answer to Richland's riverwalk.

The project is decades in the making. It all depends on how long it takes to clean up the old marina terminal just off Ainsworth Street.

Gary Ballew with the port said, "It's fun to talk about the future, but it's the work of getting the contaminants out of the ground and getting it cleaned up so it's safe for people to be around."

White PVC pipes have been pumping air into the ground since the mid 90s, flushing out petroleum waste and other toxins. It's a long process that's just about done.

Making sure this entire area is cleaned and decontaminated just isn't enough. It's got to meet safety regulations. That includes results of a survey. It tested ground and air samples to make sure the area is ready for redevelopment.

A hefty federal grant will help the port finish the study. It will also determine how marketable the land is.

"From here, once the commission makes that decision, kind of really sets the path forward for us," Ballew said.

The Nelsons can't wait for the changes.

Janey said, "We'll have to wait to see, you know, just what it's going to be."

"Sounds exciting to me," Ernie said.

It's very exciting for the future of Pasco.

Officially, these are known as the "Rail-to-River plans." The long-term goals are to rev up tourism and the local economy.