Feelings mixed at Granger development meeting

GRANGER - About 20 residents attended a meeting to discuss a plan to develop a 200-acre zoned light-industrial area in the northwest corner of the city Tuesday night.

The city, in a partnership with the Yakima County Development Association proposed extending city services, including water and sewer into the area, as well as improving existing roads to allow trucks to more easily access the site.

Gregg Dohrn, a planning and economic development consultant for the project, said it could cost between $2 million and $4 million to improve the site enough to allow development to occur.

"(We have to) take action in the present to allow us to move toward the future," he said after the meeting.

Residents, especially those who live near the site, voiced their concerns about problems with current truck routes which take trucks through the city, along unimproved roads and past Roosevelt Elementary and Granger Middle Schools.

A proposed truck route, however, would take trucks away from the city on Yakima Valley Highway and over Interstate 82 on the Hudson Road overpass, but would involve extending Ruehl Road which skirts the area.

Dohrn also said the possibility of building an interchange at Hudson Road exists, but that would be several years away, if it happens at all. He also wants to make sure nothing is done that would hinder the building of such an interchange in the future.

The cost associated with these improvements is what had most residents concerned.

"I would love to see Granger develop, but my primary concern is the cost," said Louise Walker, who moved to Granger 12 years ago from Seattle.

Walker, 67, said she'd developed asthma since moving, which is a problem other residents like Steve Redwine, who lives on Second Avenue, attribute to dust conditions created by heavy trucks moving in and out of the site on roads that weren't designed to take that kind of abuse.

Noise, dust and vibrations caused by trucks were what concerned Redwine most, but after hearing the proposal he admitted the idea wasn't as bad as he expected.

"I'm not excited about a lot of the proposals," Redwine said. "But I like the idea of expansion."

Dohrn didn't elaborate on the specifics of how the project would be financed, but mentioned several ways to obtain the needed funds, which include grants, loans and hook-up fees charged by the city.

He said he'd like to have financing figured out by the end of the year.

"We hope to have the financial strategy and the plan in place by the end of 2005," Dohrn said.

Overall, Dohrn said he was pleased with the response he got from those who attended.

"That's why we have meetings like this," he said. "To find out what the important issues are."


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