The Chronicle: “Our Views: Centralia Station Remains a Promising Prospect”

» Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in News | Comments Off on The Chronicle: “Our Views: Centralia Station Remains a Promising Prospect”

Our Views: Centralia Station Remains a Promising Prospect
The Chronicle
April 8, 2014

Centralia Station could become as much an economic driver for Centralia as the Twin City Town Center is for Chehalis.

If all comes to fruition, it would include major retailers, restaurants, Centralia College amenities, manufacturing businesses that produce high-quality goods with well-paid workers and much more.

Sales tax revenues could help improve an already balanced budget in Centralia, with the Port of Centralia coming through on one of its major missions of improving the economy and creating jobs.

There is much work left to be done in order to convert the best-laid plans to reality.

The work will include a lot of give and take from the many governmental players involved.

Recently, two of those players have become involved in a disagreement over the potential increase in traffic brought on by the development, which will be located near the end of what is currently Long Road, south of the existing Mellen Street interchange.

In a story printed on the front page of Saturday’s edition, The Chronicle detailed how Lewis County and the Port of Centralia disagree on the amount of traffic to expect on South Street, a currently rarely-used road that could see an enormous increase in traffic should the development be built as planned.

Essentially, the county believes the port has underestimated the potential impact. The port, through a public relations agency, has responded that it believes it is the county that is using faulty data.

A hearings examiner listened to both sides last month, and will deliver a decision April 14.

In the meantime, we think it deserves repeating that Centralia Station still represents one of the boldest and most promising projects to arise in Lewis County in years.

In an area where developable land is hard to find, it appears the Port of Centralia has attempted to provide due diligence when it comes to potential impacts to traffic, flooding and other issues.

It shouldn’t be surprising that the county has a difference of opinion, nor should it act as sign that the project is troubled or in doubt. It’s simply two government entities hashing out the details of a massive project.

We do think both sides would benefit from better communication, something that might have prevented a hearings examiner from becoming involved in the first place.

The 43-acre development could be key to driving down local unemployment rates and providing new opportunities for residents looking to avoid a trip to Olympia. Money currently spent out of the county could be kept in local coffers.

Complications are to be expected.

Still, we are counting on all parties to work together more seamlessly in the future.

The stakes are inarguably high at this point.

We look forward to seeing the project come to fruition.