Pasco looks to bright future for downtown

Pasco looks to bright future for downtown »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- Pasco's key business and community leaders met Thursday night to kick off a revitalization of the downtown. It's the focus of Downtown Pasco Development Authority: to bring in more ideas, more people and ultimately more dollars to the tired downtown.

“We felt that you could be the drivers behind this force and the start of something special," DPDA's Michael Goins told the room of invitees. That something special is a downtown Pasco that compares to the likes of an urban oasis. They want something new, something big, something with personality.

“I see us becoming a vibrant, innovative community where people come for shopping and a fun place for people to stay and enjoy," said Goins.

Everyone who has a stake in this dream was invited Thursday night, from council members to coffee shop entrepreneurs - even Bill and Debbie Robertson, who are based just over the Blue Bridge.

“We're very happy to be located in Pasco, and we saw so much potential in the community and growth,” said Debbie Robertson of Robertson Nissan.

“This is the imagination station. If you want a water park in downtown Pasco, then write it," explained Goins. This is just one facet the development authority unveiled. It’s a sounding board for community members that ties in Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It's a new face to what some might say is a fading neighborhood. But that's not entirely the case. Despite Mi Hacienda shutting down and the Liberty Theater fire, rental income downtown in the last year increased by 35 percent. It went from $33,000 to $44,000. One keen business owner is taking notice.

“We're excited to be in a community where the sky is the limit,” said Brad Barnes, owner of Dutch Bros. Coffee. “There's no real scope on how much it can grow and how big it can get."

Barnes' newest location just opened up on Court Street, a hop, skip and jump from downtown. Barnes says he has visions for the area. “We want to keep the culture intact and growing into that bigger and better," he said.

It’s a message everyone on Thursday night was excited to share. “We have a lot of good stories to tell and we just need to tell them really loud,” said Goins.

Although things are looking up in downtown Pasco, their farmer's market was slightly down from year to year. It lost an average of four vendors and had a 75% drop off after Labor Day on Wednesdays.