Port Angeles Waterfront District becomes nonprofit

Organization plans to execute strategic plan

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Waterfront District has incorporated as a private nonprofit organization with plans to complete the implementation of the ELEVATE PA Strategic Action Plan.

The incorporation, which went into effect Monday, also will include advocating for and representing businesses in the waterfront district.

The formation was set into motion in 2020. That year, many of the downtown stakeholders realized that a lot of investment was planned for the area. The Field Arts & Events Hall was being built, a new hotel and condos are scheduled for construction, the Red Lion hotel was planning a makeover and more.

“Tens of millions of dollars were being invested into the downtown corridor,” Port Angeles Waterfront District Executive Director Sam Grello said.

At the same time, Grello said stakeholders realized many of the investors weren’t communicating with each other. They worried that would result in investors doing the same thing without noticing it.

That’s when ELEVATE PA was formed. At first, it was just a loose association of stakeholders. The group held public meetings to develop a roadmap to “jump onto the synergy of redeveloping the downtown area,” Grello said.

The group’s goals were to develop the Port Angeles Waterfront District as the heart of the community, as a base camp for offering a variety of programs and as a gateway for connecting individuals to nearby adventures, according to a press release.

During the public meetings, Grello said more than 700 individuals contributed their opinions for the future of the downtown district.

After those meetings, the group formed a strategic action plan centered around four specific areas: promotion, a welcoming design, economic vitality and a sustainable model.

Those four areas have 64 total action items attached to them, to be completed by 2026.

Once those are completed, Grello said the organization will develop a new action plan.

One of the items was to incorporate the Port Angeles Downtown District as a nonprofit, to have an organizational structure in place for downtown stakeholders to meet.

Before the nonprofit was formed, Grello said it was hard for the downtown merchants, who come from many different generations and backgrounds, to communicate and collaborate with each other.

“Sometimes merchants downtown feel like they’re screaming into the void a little bit, and they don’t have a voice,” Grello said.

The Port Angeles Waterfront District will be guided by a board of directors with representatives from the Port of Port Angeles, Black Ball Ferry, Olympic Peninsula Lodging Alliance, Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce, HarborTowne Marketplace, Kindred Collective, the city of Port Angeles, Cabled Fiber and Yarn, Port Angeles Realty, ONYX MVMNT and Angeles Brewing Supplies and Taproom, Field Arts & Events Hall, Fogtown Coffee and Markwood Events.

Funding for the nonprofit likely will come through a combination of the district’s Parking and Business Improvement Area assessments, district revenues from events and operations, lodging tax funds and other grant sources.

The Port Angeles Waterfront District office will be on the second floor of the Erickson Building at 104 E. First St.

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Reporter Emma Maple can be reached by email at emma.maple@peninsuladailynews.com.

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