The fate of a natural preserve in southcentral Washington still hangs in the balance. The City of Richland has plans to build a road through the Amon Creek Preserve, but community outcry and hours of public testimony might be forcing a change of heart.
The preserve is a small parcel of diverse, wildlife-rich habitat amid urban development. It has reedy beaver ponds, a creek and desert sagebrush all in one spot.
“Jackrabbits hang out next to river otters," explained Scott Woodward, who heads a Tri-Cities nonprofit aimed at protecting the preserve. "There’s no other place like that, period.”
But the city is planning a road that will cut right through the wetlands. And that controversial plan has fired up the community from retirees to schoolchildren. Hundreds have shown up at recent city meetings to speak out against the road. Now, the city officials are calling for a study of the planned road that would include the public’s voice.
Woodward is hopeful another route might be chosen, but he said, “Reality wise, when you look at the map, that would be really hard.”
Richland will decide whether to go forward with a study on the planned road in the first part of June.