The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
The Supporting Investments in Economic Diversification (SIED) Board recently gave its support to the City of Union Gap’s $1.4+ million funding request to build a new section of Longfiber Road between Ahtanum Road and Pine Street (the access road serving La Salle High School). This is a major step forward for the City and the broader region.
The new street section will cross Wide Hollow creek and open up access to over 200 acres of light industrial property. Thermoforming Systems and LA Rock Enterprises have both built new facilities in the vicinity and a significant new warehouse logistics operations also has plans to expand nearby.
Given the amount of development interest in this area it made sense for Union Gap to further prime the pump by improving access to industrial lands around La Salle High School. With funding in the pipeline the City will now be able to connect the dots between this project and three other road improvements they have made over the past thirteen years.
Starting in 2000 the County’s SIED fund underwrote street and utility improvements within the Ahtanum Ridge business park including a piece of Longfiber Road. In 2004 SIED funded the development of Longfiber Road between Ahtanum Road and Valley Mall Boulevard. In 2006 SIED funded road improvement at Longfiber Road and Valley Mall Boulevard which effectively opened street access between Washington Avenue and Valley Mall Boulevard.
As one drives in this area it is obvious that road improvements have made it possible for Bud Clary Toyota, Costco, HF Hauff, Liberty Bottles and a host of other businesses to locate in this area. SIED investments ultimately leveraged millions of dollars of private and public investment in Union Gap and our entire regional economy is benefitting.
Roads and infrastructure may not be the most glamorous part of economic development but these public investments underpin private development and community growth throughout our Valley. In Union Gap’s case they have clearly benefited from building and improving their street grid. For the Yakima urban area it is also good to have more industrial property options.