Located near the confluence of the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers in southeast Washington, Kennewick and its surrounding areas are a water lover's outdoor playground. With approximately 300 days of sunshine a year, the town coaxes residents and visitors to spend lots of time outside, where they can enjoy activities such as boating, sailing, fishing, swimming, water skiing, and windsurfing.
Along with the neighboring communities of Pasco and Richland, Kennewick is part of what is known as Washington's Tri-Cities region, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. Kennewick has a population of more than 65,000.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Kennewick's growing population is matched by a growing economy. Low electric costs and excellent interstate highway and rail access have played key roles in attracting new businesses to the city.
Agriculture, light manufacturing, food processing, retail trade, services and technology are the region's main industries. Manufacturing employment has been increasing at a steady annual rate and technology is also a growing sector. In fact, the Tri-Cities region was recently named one of the country's top 10 high-technology communities by the Milken Institute.
The number of jobs in the Tri-Cities region has increased substantially in the last decade, and the area now has a considerable workforce. Large employers in the region include:
- Battell/PNNL, a research laboratory
- Fluor Hanford, a government contractor
- Bechtel National, a government contractor
- ConAgra/Lamb-Weston, a food-processing facility
- Tyson Fresh Meats, a meat-packing facility
- Kadlec Medical Center, a hospital
Kennewick is also located in the heart of Washington's wine country, and boasts numerous wineries and vineyards within a 50-mile radius of the city. Some of the larger wineries, such as Columbia Crest, produce millions of bottles of wine per year.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Kennewick's neighborhoods generally provide affordable housing for a wide range of home owners and renters. A sampling of Kennewick's neighborhoods shows that much of the city has a suburban feel:
- Finley: This quiet neighborhood runs along the river and contains a large number of mobile homes, with some single-family homes and apartment buildings. A mix of owners and renters live in Finley.
- Highland: These suburban streets are some of the most desirable addresses in Kennewick. Many of the three- or four-bedroom single-family homes are occupied by families with children.
- Vista: A recent suburban development of Kennewick with residents of mixed ages. The streets are lined with single-family homes that were mostly built between 1970 and 1994.
- Columbia Basin College: Students take classes in the college's associate's degree and vocational/technical programs. The college is known for working with local businesses to develop specific training programs.
- Washington State University-Tri-Cities: WSU's Tri-Cities campus offers students undergraduate and graduate degrees in a range of programs. The school is known for small class sizes and hands-on learning experiences.
From boating to hiking, Kennewick offers plenty of recreational activities. The Tri-Cities region is home to an estimated 99 public parks, as well as several public and private golf courses. Additionally, there are three professional sports teams. They are:
- Tri-City Dust Devils, a Class-A minor-league baseball team affiliated with the Colorado Rockies. The Dust Devils play at the 3,700-seat Gesa Stadium in Pasco.
- Tri-City Americans, a Major Junior WHL hockey club. Home games are played at the 5,780-seat Toyota Center in Kennewick.
- Tri-City Fever, an arena football team that began play in 2005. Home games are played at the Toyota Center. The team won the league championship in its first season of play.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
The arts flourish in the Kennewick area. The region is home to approximately 22 museums and art galleries, community theaters, a ballet and other cultural organizations. Some of the most prominent cultural attractions include:
- Academy of Children's Theater: an organization that provides theater instruction for children and presents several family performances each year. Performances typically involve large numbers of children and adults.
- Three Rivers Children's Museum: a place for kids to have fun and learn about art, science and the humanities. The 3,000-square-foot museum opened in 1991 and provides hands-on exhibits that are geared toward children ages 2 to 10.
- Mid Columbia Symphony: a professional symphony. Each year, the symphony performs between four and seven concerts at the Three Rivers Convention Center. Musicians also frequently perform at community events.
Kennewick is served by one daily newspaper, the Tri-City Herald, and is part of a television market that also includes Yakima, Washington. Television stations based in the Kennewick area are:
- KFFX, Channel 11 (FOX)
- KEPR, Channel 19 (CBS)
- KNDU, Channel 25 (NBC)
- KTNW, Channel 31 (PBS)
- KVEW, Channel 42 (ABC)