Pasco eyes improvements to Heritage Trail

Pasco eyes improvements to Heritage Trail
PASCO, Wash. -- There's been a lot of talk about Kennewick's giant overhaul of the waterfront -- but meanwhile, Pasco has its own plan for its side of the river.

More than three years has been spent developing the plan, but now Pasco has hit a snag.

Since arriving in Pasco more than 50 years ago, Leon Ufkes has seen the city's growth first hand.

"I came here in 56, and I look at Pasco now and, c'mon, you can't compare 'em even," Leon says.

It's that growth that has forced Pasco to take a closer look at its waterfront along the Columbia.

"The overall goal of each of the Tri-Cities is to maximize everyone's enjoyment of the river and that's our main goal," says Pasco Planning Director Rick White.

Pasco is looking to extend the Heritage Trail along the waterfront to complete a walking look around Tri-Cities.

What the city hopes to do with the path is instead of it bending around and paralleling the railroad tracks, it would go underneath the bridge and continue all the way to Sacajawea State Park.

But there's a snag.

BNSF is worried building the path underneath the train tracks would impede rail traffic.

"What that means for the city then, is proving to Burlington Northern through engineering studies and designs that it's a viable project," White added.

We spoke with reps at Burlington Northern. The rail company says it's not against the project, but wants a more sophisticated plan for the underpass.

Pasco hope to have one ready to present by the end of the year.

"Once those are worked out, I think it'll be a project that will be relatively quick to accomplish," White says.

Leon is confident he'll be walking on the new path soon.

"If you keep enough people hollering about it and going to the railroad, It'll go. It's just one of those things," he says.

The city says the only other hurdle to extending the path to Sacajawea is running it past the Port of Pasco.

While the land is publicly-owned, it's going to take a lot of planning on where they'll put the path in.

Pasco hopes to have the path actually completed in the next year.