Port aims for more detailed comp plan

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WALLA WALLA — A comprehensive plan in the works for the Port of Walla Walla will serve not only as a road map for Port business but also as a vehicle of communication between the economic development agency and the public.

Two meetings Tuesday will help glean public input for the Port’s comp plan, the most formal one yet for the agency in an increasingly critical climate, said Port Commission President Paul Schneidmiller.

The first presentation is expected to be made at the Port’s 11:45 a.m. Economic Development Advisory Commission meeting at the Walla Walla Regional Airport terminal building conference room. A second public session is expected to follow at 6 p.m. The comp plan is being developed by David Evans & Associates Inc.

Similar to the comprehensive plan routinely updated by Walla Walla County, the Port’s will lay out the agency’s mission, goals and objectives; describe its existing facilities; describe its general character and types of future facilities and potential improvements; define its guiding polices; and identify a long-range capital investment plan, according to a description.

In the end, it should also enhance transparency; provide tools for evaluating investments, prioritizing projects and resource allocation, and communicating decisions to the public; and establish a foundation for public engagement.

The development of a comprehensive plan is a requirement of the state. Port officials have complied in the past by compiling necessary paperwork, which includes an inventory of assets, proposed use of assets and an implementation plan. But Schneidmiller said as the agency strives to become more transparent, a more thorough plan seemed in order. He said fellow Commissioner Mike Fredrickson led the charge in pushing toward a more detailed comp plan.

“This, I think, formalizes it and really satisfies the intent of what we’re supposed to be doing,” Schneidmiller said.

The process has been underway since the end of June, when data collection and key interviews began.

Those who are not able to make the sessions Tuesday can participate through an online survey starting Wednesday at portwallawalla.com . Data will be collected through Nov. 1. On Oct. 11 a draft presentation of the plan is expected during a Port Commission workshop. A public comment period on the draft plan will run Oct. 11-Nov. 8. That draft will be available online or at the Port’s administrative office, 310 A St. A public hearing on the plan will take place Nov. 8. The process is expected to be complete in December.

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