District 24 state legislature Rep. Steve Tharinger, left, and Cherish Cronmiller, Olympic Community Action Programs executive director, ceremoniously break ground for the newly dubbed “7th Haven” project during a celebration with about 100 attendees on Thursday afternoon at the site of the future housing facility. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

District 24 state legislature Rep. Steve Tharinger, left, and Cherish Cronmiller, Olympic Community Action Programs executive director, ceremoniously break ground for the newly dubbed “7th Haven” project during a celebration with about 100 attendees on Thursday afternoon at the site of the future housing facility. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Ground broken for 7th Haven

Some 100 people attend ceremony

PORT TOWNSEND — Olympic Community Action Programs broke ground Thursday on its $15.4 million 43-unit affordable housing project at Seventh and Hendricks streets in Port Townsend.

Officials also announced the name of the new facility, selecting “7th Haven” submitted by Jefferson County resident Elaine Nelson as part of a naming competition that Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP) conducted over the last few weeks.

Nearly 100 people attended the groundbreaking, where Greg Brotherton, District 3 County Commissioner and OlyCAP board president, state Rep. Steve Tharinger, Port Townsend City Council member Amy Howard and former OlyCAP Executive Director Dale Wilson spoke about the importance the project will have for the community.

Work began about five years ago by Wilson and OlyCAP Housing Director Kathy Morgan and officials are glad to see the project finally moving forward.

“I can’t even describe how excited I am,” Morgan said Thursday before the ceremony. “It’s been a long time coming and it’s finally real.”

In selecting the name, the committee felt 7th Haven fit well, as a haven is a safe harbor and port for sailors to find shelter and the facility will help local residents from a variety of backgrounds, Howard said.

The facility will have six studio apartments, 18 one-bedroom apartments, 15 two-bedroom apartments and three four-bedroom apartments for those below 50 percent of the area median income for Jefferson County, OlyCAP’s project page said.

The facility also will have an early learning and child care facility on site for residents and community members, as well as supportive services and unit designations for Discovery Behavioral Health, Safe Harbor Recovery Center, Dove House Advocacy Services and Olympic Neighbors, the page said.

The largest portion of the cost is covered by an $11.3 million grant from the Washington Trust Fund.

OlyCAP Executive Director Cherish Cronmiller is excited the project is moving forward, with construction starting in August.

“It’s nice feeling, but I’ll certainly feel better when we’re cutting the ribbon,” Cronmiller said. “I think this is an important moment for our staff and especially Kathy and Dale.

“I’m grateful to the foundation they helped lay to get to this point.”

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

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