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Yakima's Design Team for the Downtown Plaza Wants Your Feedback

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The process to start coming up with some official designs for Yakima's downtown plaza took a big leap forward Thursday. The process to start coming up with some official designs for Yakima's downtown plaza took a big leap forward Thursday.
YAKIMA, WA - The process to start coming up with some official designs for Yakima's downtown plaza took a big leap forward Thursday.

The design team for Yakima's proposed downtown central plaza is in town, and they're taking notes from you.

Kathryn Gustafson, the landscape designer, and Bret Baba, the architect, both call Yakima their hometown and said they're here to improve it.

"To have a downtown core that worked the way it worked when I was a kid where you could do your Christmas shopping, where you'd meet people, you'd go out to have a drink or dinner," said Gustafson. "And that's what we'd like to see happen to Yakima again."

"Not only sort of the centerpiece of downtown, but we'd like it to be a destination," said Baba. "Something that's not only going to enhance the activities that happen downtown but bring more."

The city said there are two potential sites for the plaza, which include the parking lot next to the Millennium Plaza on Third Street or the parking lot southeast of the intersection of Second Street and Sgt. Pendelton Way.

Some community members we spoke with said they're excited for the revitalization of the downtown and think more businesses will bring confidence to the area.

"Downtown is the core," said Laura Rankin. "It's the face, and I think making this a vibrant area helps us all to gain."

But others aren't so thrilled that the plaza could be taking over one of two major parking lots.

"By limiting or getting rid of the parking area here at the plaza and so forth, that is going to make it extremely hard for any of the old folks to be able to come down here and enjoy the facilities," said Gabbie Schweers.

"I know parking is a really big issue here for people," said Baba. "I expect we'll probably hear more about that. But I think the good outweighs the bad on this project."

You can voice any concerns or ideas during Thursday night's community forum. It starts at 6:30 at Seasons Performance Hall along North Naches Avenue.
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