Group threatens to sue Yakima if plans to build downtown plaza continue

Yakima Plaza Lawsuit

YAKIMA, Wash. - The City of Yakima is facing a new obstacle in trying to build the $12 million Downtown Central Plaza. 

A citizen group calling themselves "Preserve Downtown Parking" has hired a lawyer to sue the city if plans to build a plaza continue.

The lawyer sent the city a letter last week asking to either cancel the project or move it somewhere else. 

The group said two ordinances in 1974 were passed promising all property owners in the area of Third Street and Yakima avenue that if they agreed to tax themselves for 20-years and use that money to build the current parking lot, the city would never change it to anything else.

The group is led by Bruce Smith, editor and publisher of the Yakima Valley Business Times, he said there was only one exception to build in the plaza parking lot and it’s no longer an option. 

“It was if they were going to build a Convention Center, which in 1974 we didn't have the existing Convention Center and they wanted to build one, so the talk was to build it in the air space above the plaza,” said Smith.

The city is currently studying the letter and sharing the information with council members.

City manager Cliff Moore said, it’s too soon to tell what the outcome will be. 

The group will give the city another week to respond before taking any further action. 

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