A 460-acre industrial area catering to businesses that support aviation and aerospace is proposed at the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, and an open house Nov. 15 will give the public a chance to learn more.
The industrial center, called the Aerospace Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Center, is a project of the Port of Pasco, which operates the airport. The open house will run from 5-8 p.m. at McGee Elementary School, 4601 Horizon Drive, Pasco. People are invited to stop by at their convenience.
“We want to be very intentional about this project,” said Randy Hayden, executive director of the Port of Pasco, in a statement. “The state has set an ambitious goal to increase manufacturing jobs across Washington, and right now we have an opportunity to work with the state and build an industrial center that will attract steady, family-wage jobs in one of the state’s fastest-growing industry sectors.”
The port also is taking public comments at tricitiesaim.com through Nov. 24.
The AIM Center is planned for land within the existing Tri-Cities Airport boundary, next to the runway system. Full buildout would take about 20 years and cost an estimated $215 million.
Two phases are envisioned, with the first encompassing about 300 acres west of Runway 12.
The second phase would include the remaining 160 acres.
The port unveiled an AIM Center master plan this past June, after obtaining a state grant to pay for preliminary engineering and site investigation to confirm the land would be suitable. The AIM Center fits with the state’s goal of creating 300,000 new manufacturing jobs in Washington over 10 years.
Port of Pasco hopes that proximity to the airport will attract companies doing research and science and technology work in the aviation and aerospace fields.
“These companies could manufacture systems such as electric and hydrogen-powered aircraft, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, autonomous flight systems, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing or other technology,” the statement said.
Improvements to roads near the site, plus power and sewer system enhancements, will be needed. Those kinds of impacts will be studied as the project moves forward, the statement said.
“We recognize that this is all very preliminary, and we still have a lot of work to do. But we want to be sure we gather community ideas and concerns early enough in the process that we can consider and address or mitigate issues in the design and engineering of the project,” Hayden said.
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