Written by The Business Journal Staff
The U.S. Economic Development Administration is investing $3 million in the city of Hanford’s East Side Sewer Trunk Line Project.
Officials with the department made the grant announcement Wednesday at the site of the planned Hanford Marketplace Shopping Center—an area that will be served by the new infrastructure.
Hanford City Manager Darrel Pyle said the sewer extension will span 3.7 miles and allow for growth east of Lacey Boulevard, where developers wanting to build have hit snags due to limited sewer capacity. The $3 million grant will get the $6.7 million sewer project started. The remaining costs will be covered by the city’s wastewater capital improvement fund.
The goal, Pyle said, is for Hanford’s east side to experience development similar to what the city’s west side has experienced over the last decade.
“Twenty-five years ago the folks in my chair and in the chairs of our city staffers and council members made an investment in our west side and from that investment came the Hanford Mall, the Walmart shopping center and a Target shopping center and growth all along 12th Avenue,” Pyle said. “By pursuing and securing this grant we hope to see the same opportunities and same level of job creation along our eastern edge.”
The Costco currently under construction in the new 500,000-square-foot Hanford Marketplace Shopping Center will employ 200 people alone and after build out the center is expected to bring 1,900 jobs to the area. That is just the first regional commercial retail space being built on the east side. According to the city’s updated general plan, the area across the street will also likely be rezoned for commercial use, Pyle said. Unlike the west side, Pyle said there is also plenty of space for housing developments.
“Our new general plan reaches the year 2035 and the estimated population is just under 90,000,” Pyle said. “Highway 43 is our hard eastern boundary, so there is plenty of space for future development.”
Pyle said he is thankful for the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration for their diligence in working to secure the grant so the city can begin the lengthy and complicated process of installing a new sewer line under Highway 198 and under a nearby canal.
The great need for the sewer line became especially apparent as Costco began building, Pyle said.
“The need is visible at the Costco site,” Pyle said. “If you go out there, you’ll recognize we’re behind the curve in infrastructure when you see the storage tank on the west side of the site. It is a water tank that Costco had to bring in because our water line is inadequate to charge or maintain the fire sprinkler flow in Costco if there were a fire there. Costco had to build this tank and a booster pump to make sure there is enough water in that case. As it is now, our system would only last about two minutes if there was a fire there.”
With the east side sewer line on its way, businesses planning to build in the future can rest easier, Pyle said.
“Right now it is more expensive to build on the east side because of the infrastructure, but once this line is in place this side of town will be a more competitive and attractive area for businesses,” Pyle said.