Growing Pains in the Tri-Cities

<p>Tri-Cities Growth</p>

Tri-Cities Growth

It comes as no surprise the Mid-Columbia is growing.

The State Office of Financial Management lists Benton and Franklin Counties as the fastest growing counties in the entire state this past year.

With all that growth, comes some growing pains.

"The traffic is phenomenal, it's just getting worse," said Shirley Tufford, a resident of Pasco.

Numbers are booming, just in the last year, Benton County added 3,400 residents and Franklin County added 2,300 residents.

The increase has the Kennewick Fire Department playing catch-up with the high volume of calls.

"It's critical we get there in a timely fashion," said Mark Yaden, Deputy Chief for the Kennewick Fire Department's. "We do need about 3 more stations right now, population growth is rapid but it's not sustainable to the budgeting right now."

The Pasco School District also needs more facilities and more money to accomodate the district's 81% enrollment increase since the year 2000.

The school district recently passed a $46,000,000 bond which will build new 3 new schools by the end of 2015 and keep the district from having to implement a year round schedule.

"It's a double-edged sword," said John Morgan, Assistant Superintendent for the Pasco School District . "It's great to have the people but with it we need to have that commercial development as a tax base for the school district."