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New site proposed for Hanford Reach Interpretive Center

Supporters of a proposed interpretive center for the Hanford Reach have identified a new location for the star-crossed project. They're hoping the fresh site will breathe new life into a project that's been mired in controversy and divisiveness.

The Hanford Reach National Monument contains the last free flowing stretch of the Columbia River. It was formerly part of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Backers of the proposed interpretive center have struggled to raise the $40 million necessary to build it. Native American leaders pulled their support from the project when it was planned for a site they consider sacred. Now the site has been moved away from the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers.

Interpretive center director Kimberly Camp, says things are better now that the center is planned for Columbia Park:

"We went to many of the people in the tribal community, the technical staff and some of the cultural committees and said we’re not going to move forward with any of this unless you’ll at least give us a nod that this is something that you’ll consider."

The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center has raised about $26 million so far. But groundbreaking awaits the results of archaeological and environmental studies.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.