PORT ANGELES — A $1.1 million state Department of Commerce grant to increase behavioral health facilities and capacity for children at Clallam County Juvenile and Family Services could be at risk because the county is renting the property the facility sits on.
The Clallam County Commissioners met with Port of Port Angeles Commissioners on Monday to find a solution to the problem.
Port and county officials had previously discussed trading land, but port officials Monday said that due to Juvenile and Family Services’ proximity to the airport, doing so would require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Port and county officials agreed to work with the Department of Commerce to attempt to find a solution.
County Administrator Jim Jones said the county had already talked with the Department of Commerce, which said the county might still be able to receive the grant if it signs an extended lease.
Jones said Juvenile and Family Services was one of three facilities across the state to be selected for the grant and it would allow Clallam County to provide juvenile detox services across the region.
“This is going to provide a place that kids can actually have beds that will actually help with detox, whether it’s alcohol or opioid abuse,” Jones said.
The county’s proposal includes a renovation of the old Juvenile Services building, transforming it into a place for recovery.
The renovated facility would provide a large, separate and more private facility for outpatient treatment services, youth-focused recreation, activities and outreach, according to Juvenile and Family Services.
Jones said the facility would serve Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, Kitsap and Grays Harbor counties.
“This is such a unique opportunity that would clearly help to meet a demand that is out there that is not currently being met and would be a real regional service,” said County Commissioner Mark Ozias. “It helps to solidify the entirety of operations of our juvenile services program, which is so fundamental to our community.”
But because the Port of Port Angeles owns the property, that grant is at risk.
“One of the snags we run into is we have to own the property,” Jones said. “It can’t be on leased or rented property in order for this $1 million grant to do the remodel.”
The Clallam County commissioners agreed to renew the county’s lease with the Port of Port Angeles earlier this year, but at the time discussed trading property in the future.
“We have to work within the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] rules,” said Port Executive Director Karen Goschen. “We don’t have control to sell that property. We’re not aware of a way to take it out of the airport layout plan and get FAA approval.”
Port Commissioner Connie Beauvais said it would likely be easier to work with the Department of Commerce on reworking the terms of the grant than it would be to work with the FAA.
“I’m afraid if we have to go the FAA route it could take several years,” she said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].