Two investments in local infrastructure were approved Thursday by the Yakima County Supporting Investments in Economic Diversification board.
One will partially fund an upgrade to Heritage University’s sewage system, valued at $1 million. The second would support a 300-foot extension of South 21st Avenue and realignment of Airport Lane in Yakima; the board will invest $614,000.
The project at the Heritage campus in Toppenish is needed because of anticipated enrollment and job growth. Heritage currently uses a septic system similar to several other rural communities, said Michael Moore, vice president of advancement.
The three-decade-old system needs an upgrade, he said. The $1 million investment would offset about one-quarter of the $4 million project, which would replace the septic system with a sewer treatment system and the university’s own sewer treatment facility.
“As that enrollment expands over the next five years, we will need a sewer treatment system in place,” Moore said. A sewage treatment facility is more state-of-the art and can accommodate larger volumes than a septic line.
The airport project, meanwhile, is needed to provide more access to the southern part of the facility where more hangars and new airport businesses are anticipated.
New Vision President Dave McFadden said Airport Lane is limited in its capabilities right now.
SIED funding came out of the 1997 Legislature to benefit economically challenged rural areas. The money helps defray the costs of extending roads, sewers and other infrastructure for development using a state sales-tax fund. The Yakima County board has awarded more than $21 million over the years.
The SIED board recommends projects to the Yakima County Commission, which grants final approval.