Our Valley, Our Future (OVOF) has identified a number of community issues in their current 5 Year Strategic Plan.  There is significant progress on many of the "action items" identified in March of 2022 and developed from community input that went into the strategic plan.  Many of these developments have been in the news but OVOF Coordinator Steve Maher dropped by on KPQ's Agenda Program with an update on recent developments.

New Industrial and Manufacturing Sites  During strategic planning sessions, a number of properties were identified that could serve as new industrial and manufacturing sites; The former Alcoa site in Malaga and silicon smelter in Rock Island emerged as possibilities.

UPDATE: Microsoft will break ground this spring for a data center near   Malaga, it's first foray into Chelan County. The company already operates a data center near Pangborn Airport and work on a second facility is underway.  Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority anticipates Microsoft will eventually build three data centers at each site for a combined $3 billion investment. Maher says Microsoft is projected to become the largest taxpayer in both Chelan and Douglas county. The port says property owners will see their property taxes decrease as a result. Microsoft is expected to fill about 75 jobs at each data center with many paying $150,000 a year.

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Latino Small Business Growth  Strategic sessions identified an action item should focus on creating pathways for more Latino community members to become small business owners by; opening a Mercado, developing a commercial-quality kitchen, offering small business incubator sites, offering bilingual business classes, technical assistance and a mentorship program.

UPDATE: Chelan County commissioners have amended zoning requirements to allow for mercados at six locations. The amendment requires a mercado be on public property of at least 10 acres. A conditional use permit will allow for food to be served on site.  Maher describes a mercado as an open air market  "Mercado in Spanish means market, however, it's not your typical market, everything you can imagine is sold there. Some of the things that are sold by vendors there, it's a small business and this is one way they're selling their product"   The Chelan Douglas Regional Port Authority has already hired a firm to design and develop the Trades District featuring business incubators near Pangborn Airport. At least 15 businesses have expressed interest in locating there.

Downtown Wenatchee Revitalization The action plan identified the importance of improving downtown Wenatchee with a revitalization plan that incorporates the Lineage warehouse buildings, Chelan County PUD site, and South Wenatchee Avenue:

UPDATE: The City of Wenatchee has hired an architecture firm to help create a master plan for the urban core that will prioritize improvement projects, including parking projects. The Reimagine Wenatchee Target Area Master Plan focuses on the area from Kittitas Street to 5th Street, and Chelan Street to the Columbia River.  The goal is to make sure all city projects on tap, such as the convention center expansion, are working cohesively.

 Neighborhood Food + Drink Another action item identified the importance of developing convenient shopping and services.  Eateries, food truck courts, coffee houses, and other businesses that serve the daily needs of nearby residents, perhaps on foot.

Update: A project that is progressing in Cashmere is called The Side Street, a mixed-use development designed as a neighborhood hub of food, beverages, retail, and art studios. The owners Andy and Lanna Thompson purchased the historic warehouses last year along Railroad Avenue for the project and plan to open sometime this spring.

There are many more Action Items OVOF is curating and you can learn more when updates are posted soon.  Here are a few more action item updates

Interurban Pathways Expansion would identify locations and develop partnerships for paved trails in the Greater Wenatchee, Rock Island, Malaga, Cashmere, Leavenworth, Entiat, Chelan, and Manson areas. A “Pathways Working Group” is studying how to connect communities in the region with paved trails, and which trails will be the easiest to construct.

Regional Water Park & Indoor/Outdoor Aquatics or Sports Facility A feasibility study on the proposed complex considered for a site near the east end of the Odabashian Bridge in East Wenatchee is slated to begin in April. A consultant will conduct a feasibility study into economic impact, facility options and the site analysis. Proposed legislation in Olympia is under consideration to create a funding mechanism that would have to be approved by local taxpayers.

Redesign of the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center To upgrade the facility into a major regional or national attraction, the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center is seeking $3.2 million in state funding help pay for the redesign and expansion.

Language Translation Services  CAFE, The Community for the Advancement of Family Education (CAFÉ) is now offering translation, interpreting and outreach services to the community.  The goal is to provide language translation services at public meetings and in public information releases. The effort includes development of pool translators in  languages other than Spanish.

Coordinated Social Services To better coordinate delivery and collaboration among  social service providers of such services as housing, food and health care.  Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council is buying the C & O property in North Wenatchee for a new food distribution center.

Regional Diversion Facility  A working group is holding monthly meetings to develop a regional diversion facility that supports prevention, voluntary, civil and criminal commitment and post commitment support services for members of the community with mental health and substance abuse challenges.  The River Care in-patient will likely be located in Wenatchee, East Wenatchee or Ephrata with outpatient offices in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan County.  The working group is led by County Commissioners; Kevin Overbay (Chelan),  Marc Straub (Douglas), Cindy Carter (Grant),  and Chris Branch (Okanogan)  The working group includes law enforcement, court officials, and mental health, substance abuse and managed care experts.

Behavioral Health Response Teams   The teams support  law enforcement on some emergency response calls, including mental health and drug overdose incidents.  Catholic Charities is working with the Chelan County Behavioral Health Unit under an agreement with Beacon Health Options to create mobile crisis teams that will visit a person in distress in their home, stabilize them and assist them in finding other services they may need.

LOOK: States With the Most New Small Businesses Per Capita

To find the top 20 states with the most new small businesses per capita, Simply Business analyzed the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics from August 2020 to July 2021.


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