Expansion is starting to look up in Ellensburg


Nick Tucker, Senior News Reporter

If there is too much development further away from the city center, it means that citizens have to drive their cars more. This may not be a big problem yet for a small city like Ellensburg, but according to the American Journal of Health Promotion, studies have found a relationship between urban sprawl and low levels of physical activity and health. Increased car usage also has environmental effects, creating more air pollution and causing rainwater runoff to pick up pollutants along the way to a storm drain.

To fight this and other city problems, Sackett has been working closely with the various other organizations and institutions such as CWU.

Bill Yarwood is CWU’s Real Estate and Capital Planning Director. He’s been working at CWU for 22 years and said that the campus will continue to change and expand as the university continues to accept more students every year. Some of these changes are new additions such as Dugmore Hall and a new dining facility.

“Up there you’ve got the [18th Street Grocery & Deli], but other than that, there’s not really anywhere for students around north campus to eat,” Yarwood said. Next to the 18th Street Grocery & Deli there is Wing Central, but Yarwood is right. Aside from those two places, there are no restaurants or grocery stores north of 18th street. According to CWU facilities, the new $2.68 million north campus dining facility will soon begin construction and is expected to open Fall 2019 one to two months after the opening of Dugmore Hall.

Other changes to campus include replacing and recycling current on-campus buildings. According to Yarwood, Hertz Hall is planned to be replaced by a new science hall which is currently being designed.

Due to the fact that students are constantly moving in and out of Ellensburg, Yarwood said that the city changes a lot more than cities like Yakima, and has a culture more accepting of these changes. Many cities go through some tensions when change happens, and both Yarwood and Sackett said there has been some of that. However, both agree that because of how closely the city of Ellensburg works with its residents, businesses and CWU, the culture of Ellensburg is increasingly collaborative.

“What would Ellensburg be without the university?” Yarwood said. “Students get involved with downtown and work, shop and live as a part of the community.”

According to the City of Ellensburg Community Development Department, many in the community are  putting most of their money towards rent rather than spending it and growing Ellensburg’s economy.

In Ellensburg, about 4,000 households are considered to be low to extremely low-income by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and almost half of households are considered to be cost-burdened. HUD considers a household cost-burdened if over 30 percent of the collective income for that household is spent on housing. According to the Community Development Department, cost-burdened households have limited resources left over to pay for other life necessities such as food, clothing, medical care, transportation and education. They are also at higher risk of displacement when housing costs rise or life circumstances change.