The TRAC: Should it stay or should it go?

The TRAC: Should it stay or should it go?
PASCO, Wash. -- The TRAC is always struggling to bring in more money than it spends to run the site, so its future is often up in the air. KEPR learned that, in 2013, the TRAC was nearly able to meet its record-breaking sales from the year before.

In the six months Chris Young has lived in Tri-Cities, he and his wife have attended events at the TRAC three times.

"They've had good events. The ones I've been to were really good. We really enjoyed them, so it was wonderful," said Young.

They went to the Craft Show and the Home and Garden Show.

"I think they're gonna have a demo derby coming up, and we're going to go to that."

Chris was surprised to learn the TRAC's future hasn't been so solid. But the reality is that selling the TRAC is a frequent topic. The facility runs at a yearly deficit. There was talk of having a water park on the site instead.

"The majority of the commissioners did not want to have a water park here. In my opinion, I felt good about Franklin County having TRAC here - something to represent agriculture in our county, here in Pasco. It's on valuable land that we're never going to be able to touch again and never get again. So, I was opposed to selling TRAC," said Franklin County Commissioner Rick Miller.

Even though the TRAC struggles to close their deficit, the past two years have brought in more cash. Last year, the TRAC was nearly able to meet its record-breaking sales from 2012. Both years, the TRAC brought in close to $2.5 million, compared to $1.5 million in years past.

But that just means it lost less money rather than made money. In recent years, the TRAC has operated at a loss of up to $400,000.

Commissioner Rick Miller credits successes to population increases.

"A lot is just with the people that have moved in. We have 86,000 people in the county now. That's a lot of different people that come in," said Miller.

Chris fits that bill and is optimistic of the future of the TRAC.

"They have a lot of stuff there for a lot of people to go see and do. We really like it," said Young.

An independent auditor will be brought in to look for ways the TRAC can save money and also keep a close eye on its money. The state audits the facility frequently and found the facility was a little too loose on its cash handling and suggested things be tightened up.