If you can remember way back when there was a time when the Tiger Marts were successful gas stations in prime locations throughout the City of Yakima. Today (like they have for many years) sit vacant as the owner refuses to clean them up and so they can once again become productive pieces of property.

The City has struggled with how to handle the properties, dealing with a number of code complaints and violations that are pretty standard for vacant property. I've received numerous calls for weed and graffiti abatement. The City has done their best up to this point to enforce the laws that we can while waiting for the owner to clean up the contaminants on the site and sell them or put them back into production. That will NEVER happen, and the question becomes...how long should you wait?

Yakima already has a bad reputation or run down property and these prime locations don't help that image. I know that the Department of Ecology would like to see these sites cleaned up, even to the point that they have requested $2 million dollars to in this years budget. So you are probably asking yourself why the City of Yakima wants to purchase these contaminated sites, clean them up and out them back on the market.

There are a few reasons that the Council is pursuing this option. The first reason is that these sites have been vacant for over 10 years, and that does no one involved any good. The second reason is the City and Ecology have a good working relationship and we are going to get a lot further than the current property owner. The third and final reason the Council is interested in making this happen is the fact their are interested buyers who are ready to create new businesses that will create jobs. A new owner will also clean these sites up help us get rid of useless blight.

Maybe after reading this you are still not convinced that it's a good idea? I'm not sure what else to tell you. We can either sit back and relax and let them sit vacant for 10 more years, or we can take a calculated risk to make something positive happen for our city. Time will tell if we make the right call or not.