If not now, when?
That’s a pertinent question for any business or homeowner tempted to put off what needs to be done. No property remains forever attractive. It takes investment and dedication. Delay projects, put things off, do nothing and you save money now, but spend more later. Either that, or accept the inevitable degradation of appearance and value.
It’s no different for downtown businesses. Some 22 years ago the property owners agreed to pay for a remodeling project called “streetscape” that brought two-lane traffic, angle parking, landscaping, lighting, amenities and general beautification. The project enhanced what was and is a vibrant downtown core envied across the state, a genuine benefit to the entire region. Now comes a new opportunity to invest in a beautiful downtown, to ensure it remains a beautiful downtown.
Downtown property owners are considering support for a local improvement district to finance improvements on Wenatchee Avenue between Yakima Street and Second Avenue. The Wenatchee Downtown Association and consultants are polling property owners, providing estimates of their assessment and payment based on front footage. The owners can if they wish sign a letter in support. If support is sufficient, the City Council will hold a public hearing to consider a resolution declaring its intention to form the LID. That hearing may take place as soon as Sept. 12. If the resolution is approved, a public hearing on an ordinance forming the district will follow.
The proposed project is not radical or extravagant, the cost estimated at $618,000. Street lights will be refurbished and painted. New globes and bulbs will brighten the streets. Overgrown planters will be replaced with containers. Sidewalks will be expanded where there is no parking. Benches and bike racks will be installed. Some poorly located trees will be removed, others replanted. These priorities were set after extensive consultation and public input.
This is a golden opportunity to bring downtown new life with a sensible investment. The project would coincide with the repaving of Wenatchee Avenue and replacement of utilities next spring. Simultaneous construction will keep the inevitable disruption of commerce to a minimum.
Property owners should seriously consider the options and offer their support. We can keep downtown Wenatchee beautiful and attractive, as it should be. Or, we can put off what we know needs to be done, and then what? When will it be cheaper? How much deterioration, loss of atmosphere and image will we accept?
So, if not now, when?
This is the opinion of The Wenatchee World and its Editorial Board: Publisher Rufus Woods, Editor Cal FitzSimmons and Editorial Page Editor Tracy Warner.