What is on your wish list for the Wenatchee Valley?  I'm not talking about peace, harmony or a chicken in every pot.

Rather, what things, places, services, amenities, infrastructure, etc. are we lacking and that you would like to have in Wenatchee?

This question invariably leads to each of our own wish lists of restaurants or fast food/casual dining options we hope will locate here some day.  Then there is the ongoing campaign for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or Best Buy to open a Wenatchee location.

Perhaps we will figure out that most of these businesses will never locate here because we don't have a large enough economy, per capita income or population base to support them. You have to admire our spunk, though.

Looking beyond the restaurant and grocery sector, what else is Wenatchee missing that would add to the lifestyle or enhance the community experience?

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Some ideas come to mind;

Expanded riverfront development.  The Pybus Public Market has proven it's worth as a community treasure.  The adjacent Hilton Garden Inn, the Residence Inn to the north also offer some waterfront facing dining and access.  The Riverside 9 Apartment development offers residents a waterfront lifestyle and there is some limited commercial/retail development between 5th and 9th street that affords a waterfront experience when you patronize these businesses.  With the expansive river frontage, more could be done to take advantage.  After all, no one goes to a home improvement store or a hockey game because it's near the Columbia River but they would probably go to an amphitheater if it sat next to the river.  They are likely to go out to eat if there is more dining overlooking the water.  Imagine an aerial tramway running the length of the park from the Odabashian Bridge to the Sellar Bridge above the Wenatchee side of the Columbia

Expanded and more visible public parking.  Wenatchee's primary public parking is in lots along Columbia Street and behind the Wenatchee Convention Center.  Could there be improved awareness or is visibility an issue from the downtown core?  It seems to be parking designed for employees of downtown merchants rather than for easy to find parking space for visitors.

More Apple themed tourism.  We have a heavy emphasis on wine tourism with off site and winery tasting rooms but the sophisticated commercial fresh fruit production of apples, cherries, pears, etc. in our region is not conducive to the same agri-tourism experience.  In Southern California where I spent my early childhood, you would go "out to the apple country" for a u-pick experience.  We have fruit stands certainly but less than we used to.  Our orchard operations are far too valuable as a fresh crop commodity to be squandered as tourist draws for people to come and wander the rows picking their own fruit.  But you also don't get as strong of an Apple themed tourism presence in general as you might expect in the Apple Capital of the World.

Night life.  Wenatchee's night life (I'm told, not enough personal experience to comment) is lacking, particularly for adults who like to go dancing.  If you are really young, I/m told there are a couple of clubs but adults are wanting more places to go dancing in Wenatchee.  Let's face it, that's probably the ladies we're talking about but fellas will be sure to show up.

Kids & Family activities.  I remember complaining about this when my kids, now in their early 30's and late 20's were at home.  Somehow we managed to keep them entertained but as the community grows, parents will seek more activities and amenities.  Chelan County alone expects 15,000 additional residents by 2045.  Imagine what the growth in Douglas County, where more buildable land exists will mean for the overall growth for the Wenatchee area  Young parents will demand more than what public facilities can provide.  The commercial sector is going to have to meet the demand. With that kind of growth, the economics should be favorable for the likes of an indoor complex offering;

  • indy-style go karts, bumper cars, laser tag, drone racing, batting cages, slamball or a basketball /trampoline hybrid sports center, you name it.
  • Why not an indoor Water Park, lazy River and hotel resort with year round use during winter and smoky summers.

Outdoor recreation centers with miniature golf, bumper boats, zip lines, rock climbing walls.


  • 4 lane access to and from Wenatchee.  It has been said that Wenatchee's Pangborn Airport is the closest the Wenatchee Valley will get to having a 4 lane freeway into and out of Wenatchee but one only has to look to what I-90 has meant to Moses Lake.
  • Additional air service at Pangborn.  The service levels through Pangborn Airport is one of the top priorities of Chelan Douglas Regional Port officials who have worked diligently for years to expand service, attract additional carriers and alternative route options.  Challenges in the airline industry have not come at an advantageous timing with local efforts, hopefully a breakthrough is on the not too distant horizon.  My wish is that that horizon includes flying in more than one direction, not just to and from Sea-Tac airport.  Let's hope we can one day jet off to Spokane, Vegas or other direct destinations besides Seattle.

Mission Ridge expansion, overnight accommodations.  The proposal for adding lodging, townhomes, duplexes, condos, single family homes and additional terrain and shopping will be a game changer for Mission Ridge   Sadly, the expansion plan has been mired in litigation with Chelan County.  Remember when someone floated the idea of a tram running from Blewett Pass up to Mission Ridge?  The idea was so people could ski or snowboard the mountain without travelling all the way into Wenatchee.

Native American Cultural Center.  Shouldn't Wenatchee have a building or museum dedicated to the region's Native American heritage and history?  As a 41 year resident of the area, I feel ignorant of this area's Native American past and the only such center in the area is Wanapum Heritage Center in Mattawa.

 Pioneer or historical district.  We have a wonderful Pioneer Village at Cashmere's Museum but as Wenatchee grows over the next 20 years, why not recreate an historical district or Pioneer village with working actors/educators explaining the daily lives of residents in 19th century Wenatchee.

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