From Cleanup to Campus: Local Groups Sign on to Hanford Master Plan

From Cleanup to Campus: Local Groups Sign on to Hanford Master Plan

RICHLAND -- After the clean up, Hanford might look more like a commercial campus.

The sites got a history of creating jobs and money for the region.

Thousands of people pump out plutonium everyday at Hanford.

No one quite knows the day when workers will be done cleaning up, or when they'll be done getting a paycheck for the job.

But community leaders are not waiting around.

They're making sure when the dirty work's done at Hanford, how ever long that may take, that there's still something at the site to bring in bucks, creating jobs, and keeping Hanford on the map.

Friday, three local groups put pen to paper to create a master plan for the area.

"This is a great and a good day for out entire Tri Cities District Board as well as our community stakeholders," Diahann Howard said, economic development director for the Port of Benton and executive director of the Tri Cities Research District.

Leaders have a plan to drive Hanford - and the Tri City economy at large - into the future.

It's called the Tri Cities Research District.

Think corporate campuses like Microsoft or Nike Town: a research campus with high-tech labs, office buildings, shops, restaurants, even condos.

"This is an asset for the entire community and we just need to be able to tell our story better," Howard said.

"That's exactly the time of thing that will serve our campus well," Vicky Carwein said, Chancellor of WSU Tri-Cities.

Friday, the Port of Benton, Solaris Group and Battelle signed contracts for the master plan.

They called in a Portland-based architect company to design and build-up the nearly 400 acres of undeveloped land.

"It was important for us to have that over-arcing umbrella agreement to make sure what we do is unified, tied together," Howard said.

"We are just so thrilled and excited to be within the footprint of that district," Carwein said.

Reps from Solaris said it's crucial to sign-off on a master plan before they can entice other companies to move to the district.

None of the groups would reveal just who those companies or amenities might be.

That's why the plan is now on the fast track.

But here is still a lot of work to be done for the district.

Planners have to figure out what each parcel of land is zoned for.

 Then they can decide where all the offices, homes and restaurants can go.

Builders estimate they have about a million square feet of space to work with.

And they estimate that the new complex could offer up about 20,000 jobs.

 Community leaders plan to reveal the master plan in six months.