Five public agencies seek money from Jefferson Public Infrastructure Fund

Grant applications total $831,064

PORT TOWNSEND — Five public agencies have requested grants from the Jefferson County Public Infrastructure Fund Board totaling $831,064.

Project proposals were submitted by the city of Port Townsend, the Port of Port Townsend, the Jefferson County Public Utility District, Jefferson County and the Fort Worden Public Development Authority for 2019 funds.

Central Services Director Mark McCauley said the PIF has $800,000 in available funds to be awarded this year.

“We have the ability to flex a bit to cover the additional amount requested,” McCauley said. “All of these projects have merit.”

The Public Infrastructure Fund (PIF) is funded by the state returning part of county sales tax proceeds with the stipulation that the money be spent, as loans or grant, on infrastructure that creates job.

The PIF board will meet Friday, Feb. 22 to review the proposals and forward a recommendation to the county commissioners who have final say on awarding of the money.

A date for deliberation by the county commissioners had not been determined as of this past Friday.

Jim Pivarnik, Port of Port Townsend interim executive director, said the port seeks $150,000 to help with re-engineering and design of the failing south jetty at Point Hudson.

“We listened to the community, and a repair of the existing breakwater is better aligned with Port Townsend and its values,” Pivarnik said.

“We are embarking on a redesign, allowing for a major repair but using the existing rock.

“This is our number one priority and we need to focus on it,” he said.

The Jefferson County PUD has requested two grants — one for $60,064 to fund Water Street telecom infrastructure and another for $106,000 for phase one of the Quilcene Water Tank project.

The Water Street project is a continuation of work that was done last summer, said Will O’Donnell, PUD communications manager.

“We worked with the city of Port Townsend to put in conduit so that we could add telecom,” O’Donnell said. “We’re hoping to put in fiber in the downtown core with this grant.

“In Quilcene, we have a 100,000-gallon water tank project that will help with fire flow and we are looking for help with engineering, design and permitting.”

Dave Robison, Fort Worden Public Development Authority (PDA) executive director, has asked for a grant of $150,000 to fund a building renovation for staff housing.

“Building 203 is one of the former military dorms that has been used as group housing for Centrum and others,” Robison said.

“The upstairs is the ‘sleep in the heap.’ One side is boys and the other side is girls. Downstairs there are two wings with 14 dorm rooms each. We plan to do the first phase of converting 14 of those individual rooms.

“One of the challenges we face is providing employee housing,” he said. “During the peak summer months, we cannot fill our positions because of the lack of affordable housing in the county.

“By providing 14 rooms as a first phase, it will help us meet that demand. In winter, we can offer the rooms to program partners who want to bring in student or shorter term housing.

He said the project would help to retain employees at Fort Worden.

“Even sometimes when we hire a manager or a director, it takes a month or two for them to find permanent housing,” he said.

“This will provide transitional housing so they can then find something permanent.”

The city of Port Townsend has requested $300,000 for the Seventh Street Corridor Construction in the new Rainier Avenue area.

Both Mt. Townsend Creamery and Port Townsend Winery have expressed interest in expanding along Seventh Street, so city officials are looking at an extension from Discovery to Rainer Street to puts in frontage and assist the winery and creamery operation, City Manager David Timmons said.

“All underground utilities — water, sewer and storm — are in place,” Timmons said. “Now we actually want to construct the east-west street.”

Timmons said the plan is to go to the state for an additional $600,000 and apply for a Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) Grant.

McCauley said Jefferson County is looking for $65,000 to work on Quilcene’s Center Road Sidewalk Improvement project. The sidewalk is 1,520-feet long and the funds would help with 8.19 percent of the total cost of construction.

PIF Board members include Jefferson County Commissioner Kate Dean, who chairs the committee; Port Townsend Mayor Deborah Stinson; Port of Port Townsend commissioner Steve Tucker; PUD Commissioner Dan Toepper; citizen representatives Joe Johnson, Gary Rowe and James Mumm; and EDC Team Jefferson director Brian Kuh or alternate Bill Lowry.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at jmcmacken@peninsuladailynews.com

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