State loan, grant to boost PA port facility

PORT ANGELES — A statewide infrastructure improvement panel that operates under the umbrella of the state Department of Commerce has given the Port of Port Angeles a seven-figure financial shot in the arm.

The state Community Economic Revitalization Board last week awarded the $1.05 million loan and a $195,000 grant for the port’s $2.6 million vessel wash-down facility on 19 acres west of Port Angeles’s downtown core.

Workers from McClure & Sons Inc. of Mill Creek have been at the former plywood manufacturing site for about two weeks.

They’ve been doing site preparation such as installing erosion control measures, including a silt fence, port Director of Engineering Chris Hartman said Monday afternoon.

“They are working as we speak,” Hartman said.

The project includes a wastewater treatment system that, thanks the CERB funding, will be built in 2019, earlier than planned, rather than waiting until facility use warrants the expenditure, Hartman said.

The port will pay back the 20-year loan at 2 percent interest at a total cost of $1.34 million, Controller Melinda Smithson said Monday.

Hartman said the low-interest loan allows the port to realize significant cost savings by not having to seek bond financing and also frees up port capital funds for other projects.

The funding will help the port transform the former plywood manufacturing site into the port’s new Marine Trades Industrial Park, Hartman said.

“It’s very good news,” he said.

The first phase includes the construction of 18,500-square-foot vessel wash-down facility.

It will include a 175-foot wash-down pad over which vessels suspended by a travel lift will be hosed clean by workers from companies that will pay the port to use the facility in a manner much like a self-service car wash.

Mega-yacht builder Westport Shipyard on Marine Drive and Platypus Marine on North Cedar Street initially will be the main users of the facility, port officials have said.

The target date for “substantial completion” of the first phase is Oct. 31, while it should be ready for actual use by Nov. 30.

An additional $600,000 on top of the $1.7 million will be spent in 2019 on purchasing and installing a wastewater treatment system, Hartman said.

Until then, wastewater will be trucked to the port’s boat haven wastewater facility about a half-mile west of the industrial park.

The project budget includes $300,000 in contingency funding, bringing the total cost to $2.6 million.

The project is being funded with $1.3 million in port capital funds in addition to the grant and loan.

By far, the grant and loan awarded to the port accounted for the largest portion of $1.4 million in loans and grants announced Friday by the CERB.

Island, Douglas and Pend Oreille counties received $50,000 each for feasibility studies for building renovation, road and lodging facility projects.

“These improvements strengthen communities by encouraging new business development and expansion,” the Department of Commerce said in a press release about the awards.

Hartman said the marine trades industrial park will generate 250 new, direct jobs at full build-out, according to a 2015 economic analysis conducted for the port by Kenmore-based BST Associates.

The analysis was based on shipyard-related jobs per acre in Washington state.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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