For the first time in more than 20 years, the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership is conducting a survey of buildings.

Executive Director Stephanie Button says a whole new slate of buildings are eligible for the partnership's catalog of historic structures that have been around for 50 years or more.

"We're actually in the process of doing an update on our historic structure inventory in the downtown," Button said. "Hopefully by the end of the year, early next year, we will have an updated inventory of the number of historic structures in the downtown Kennewick area."

With more than 20 buildings eligible for the designation of historically significant structure within the city of Kennewick, a $25,000 grant from the Kennewick Historic Preservation Commission will help pay for the study.

The survey comes on the heels of a fire that struck the second floor of the Cascade Building on West Kennewick Avenue last week. While the fire was nowhere near as devastating as the blaze that heavily damaged the 115-year-old structure last year, Button says her heart sank when she first heard the news.

"I was like, oh no, not again. And it was a Friday morning, yet again. So it felt like just the worst deja-vu," Button said. "That building has been home to many different businesses from grocery stores, mixed retail, residential. It's had a long history in our community for being a center of all kinds of commerce and downtown activity."

The second floor has been for residential use over the last few decades. The owner had been rebuilding from last year's fire.

"After the initial fire, the recovery plan was to secure the building, keep it safe, save the structure, and then rebuild the interiors. And so they had been concentrating on the second floor, bringing back that residential footprint of mixed apartments." Button said.

Button doesn't want to speculate on the owner's long term plans after this latest setback, but says she's relieved the neighboring businesses don't have to close.

"They weren't negatively disturbed, maybe just a little bit of smoke damage, but they're able to continue business as normal"

Meantime, Button encourages everyone to visit downtown Kennewick and its old buildings, and small businesses.

"It's a beautiful, walkable, cute community. It's like nothing else in the Tri Cities," Button added. "The best way you can support downtown Kennewick is to come shop, dine and enjoy a beautiful downtown community."

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