Port of Kennewick decides to close Vista Field

After years of discussion and debate, the Port of Kennewick decides to close the Vista Field Airport and redevelop the area.

The three Port of Kennewick commissioners unanimously voted to close Vista Field because they said financially, that made the most sense out of the three options available.

The commissioners made the decision last night during a public meeting.

The port had been looking at three options:

The first was to expand the airport, which would cost about $42 million.

Another option was to take no action.

And the third option, which is what commissioners chose, was to close the airport and redevelop the land - a move that is expected to make money in the long run and benefit the larger community.

"We looked at the expenses, we looked at the number of jobs to be created, we looked at what could be best for the community, and we realized that there was a very small, well-organized, well-versed minority group that had been talking about for years about keeping the airport open and advocating for it. However, we realized that there's 125,000 people in the Port of Kennewick district and we're responsible to all 125,000" said Skip Novakovich, Port of Kennewick.

Commissioners say when they redevelop the land, they hope to turn it into a mixed use area, which could include residential spaces and small retail shops.

But this redevelopment process will take time.

Commissioners expect this to be a 20 year project.

They say they are not in any rush to get it done, they just want to do it right.

There is no timeline to shut down the airport.

Commissioners say they will work with the 17 people who have planes there to help them relocate.