Major goal is economic restructuring

by John Trumbo 

Group to focus this year on increasing economic success

Finding a way to bring economic success to the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership needs to be a priority, said the Kennewick mayor after a report from the association Tuesday.

Tim Dalton, the executive director of the downtown group, gave a 40-minute report on its goals and objectives for 2009. “More reporting to the council on what we’re doing is one of our goals,” Dalton said.

The partnership follows the national Main Street model for revitalizing downtowns by using a four-prong approach: promotion, design, economic restructuring and organization.

Mayor Tom Moak said he wants more emphasis placed on economic restructuring of downtown. “You say you want to grow. But how many people, and how many businesses?  The economic restructuring is weak.” Moak said.

Dalton said the downtown has seen several successes, which have included 18 business facade makeovers in recent years, sponsoring six major downtown events annually and a strong volunteer base in the association.

But Dalton said economic restructuring continues to be a challenge for downtown. One idea offered by Councilman Steve Young is to promote downtown visits by people attending events at the Three Rivers Convention Center.

Dalton said their monthly newsletter is unique among other similar associations in the state and has become a major means of outreach to the business community.

Council members indicated today they would likely continue to offer the same annual financial support to the downtown group when the current contract runs out in 2010. That is $50,000 a year, which Dalton said is more than matched through partnership fundraising, membership and other support.



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