Gregoire signs bill including $2.3 million for Jefferson County

Three Jefferson County agencies will reap the benefits of $2.3 million after Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the state’s construction budget.

Fort Worden State Park, Jumping Mouse Children’s Center and Northwest Maritime Center each received state dollars.

As part of two-year package, the state spent $45,000 in the Port Townsend-based children’s mental health center, Jumping Mouse.

The center, which provides a creative therapy environment for children and their families, will use the money to reduce its $200,000 mortgage acquired after moving into a new facility at the beginning of the month.

Along with other funds, raised through community support and fund-raisers, Jumping Mouse officials welcomed state support, which brings them close to raising the needed amount.

“This is very exciting,” said Janel Carlson, Jumping Mouse secretary-treasurer.

“We should have the building paid off by the end of the year, easy, maybe even the end of September.

“That’s going to help a lot of children for a lot of years of money well used.”

Maritime center funds

The state budget also includes $345,000 for the Northwest Maritime Center, aiding in construction of ambitious maritime facilities at the end of Port Townsend’s Water Street downtown.

As a nonprofit organization, the Northwest Maritime Center aims to preserve, interpret and enhance the Puget Sound maritime history and culture.

The state contribution would add to the $10.9 million new facility campaign, currently under way.

“We are very appreciative of the Washington State Historical Society contribution to the project, which stands to benefit all of the Pacific Northwest,” said Peter Helsell, Northwest Maritime Center finance manager.

The bulk of state’s check for Jefferson County — $2 million — is written to Fort Worden State Park.

The money is a part of a standard maintenance package the park receives for household improvement needs.

“It doesn’t give us the funds to do any new projects, just to maintain the existing historical infrastructure,” said Steve Shively, Fort Worden State Park manager of conference programs and services.

Final prioritization

Kate Burke, Fort Worden State Park manager, was due to meet Wednesday with the park’s Resource Development Department to discuss final prioritization of capital projects.

Saying Tuesday she was uncertain which work projects would get priority until after the meeting, Burke described what she called “a balance of some major maintenance items” — some that would help the park generate additional revenues.

“My hope is we’re going to tackle that last house on NCO row, which is terrible looking right,” she said.

Roofs on some Officer’s Row buildings were also scheduled for replacement.

Other projects she described as needing attention include the egress windows on Building 225.

“And we may be able to squeeze in the final phases of the JFK building,” she said.

“It needs ceiling, flooring and outside repairs to the siding.”

Port Townsend-Jefferson County Local News Editor Jeff Chew contributed to this report.

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