At the site of what once was the city’s garbage dump, Wenatchee welcomed one more shiny addition to its reinvigorated riverfront.
The new Hilton Garden Inn hotel held a ribbon-cutting ceremony that gathered regional and community leaders and dignitaries both past and present at 25 N. Worthen St.
“Just to have this beautiful property opened up on the base of the Columbia River, it’s quite amazing,” said Gina Muller, director of sales for the hotel, which opened in late April.
The hotel includes several amenities open to the communities such as a restaurant, a bar, a minimart-style shop, and a patio with a view of the mighty Columbia.
“It’s quite spectacular,” Muller said.
Mayor Frank Kuntz reminded those in attendance at the ribbon-cutting that the land on which they were standing once housed the city’s garbage dump, as recently as 60 years ago.
“Then it became the headquarters to our public works department, before it moved to McKittrick Street,” Kuntz said. “Then it was a dirt lot for a long time.”
Kuntz highlighted the location of the new hotel: on the riverfront, next to Pybus Public Market, and a short walk on the pedestrian bridge away from downtown.
“We really expect it to do great things,” he said adding that he anticipated soccer and hockey teams to stay at the Hilton when they come to Wenatchee.
“It’s a great addition for our downtown and our riverfront and the whole community,” he said. “And you know there’s more to come. There’s more people looking at Wenatchee and wanting to be here. This is a sign that if this goes well, others will be following and that is going to be an important trend for us.”
Shiloh Burgess, executive director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, called the arrival of a company like Hilton “a step in the right direction.”
Burgess encouraged people to come and visit the Hilton, including those who feel a little unsure as to what all this growth means to their hometown. The company, Burgess said, built the hotel with the community in mind, not just the guests.
“If you are on the (Apple Capital Recreational Loop) Trail and you are hungry and you need a snack, there was no minimart anywhere on the trail. There is now, at the Hilton Garden (Inn),” she said, mentioning the restaurant, bar and patio among the amenities meant for the community at large.
Like Kuntz, Burgess praised the continued growth, with places like Riverside 9 apartments, Pybus and now the Hilton.
“We are creating a neighborhood down here,” she said. “With that comes additional commercial development, hopefully additional residential development, and amenities for restaurants. Lots of opportunities here; this is just the beginning.”