PORT TOWNSEND — The Port of Port Townsend commissioners unanimously agreed to resubmit a grant application to the federal Economic Development Administration to assist with reconstruction of the Point Hudson Breakwater jetty.
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) initially deferred its decision for the $11.28 million grant the port requested. But now the EDA has said it is open to reconsidering funding the project with about $9.3 million.
Commissioners approved the re-submittal of the application for the funds in a special meeting Tuesday. The vote was taken after minimal discussion, and the meeting was adjourned after about seven minutes.
Approval is not guaranteed, said Kerstin Millius, EDA acting regional director, in her letter to the port.
“Although the EDA is not moving forward with funding your project at this time, you may elect to have your application carried forward and re-considered at an [Investment Review Committee] meeting to be scheduled in the future,” Millius said. “The option to carry your application forward does not guarantee that the application will be funded.”
The port has until Monday to resubmit its application, the letter said.
The Point Hudson Reconstruction project is estimated to cost about $14.1 million to complete.
If the port received the EDA grant, Executive Director Eron Berg said officials would reach out to the region’s state legislators to ask for funding from the state during the next legislative session.
Funds from the Industrial Development District (IDD) levy would be used for the remainder of the cost, Berg said.
According to the resolution, the proposed Point Hudson Breakwater replacement project aligns with the investment priorities identified by the EDA: it would facilitate economic recovery and resilience and strengthen the ability of the community to withstand future natural disasters and economic shocks; it is a critical infrastructure project that would replace a key component of the physical infrastructure that sustains the local economy; and it would help to attract private investment and retain and grow jobs within a designated Opportunity Zone.
The next meeting of the EDA review committee had not been scheduled as of Tuesday.
The Point Hudson Jetty was damaged during the December windstorms in 2018, and the port needs to demolish and replace both arms of the breakwater, the approved resolution said.
“The winter storms of December 2018 revealed the deteriorated and vulnerable condition of the Point Hudson Breakwater, which, if not replaced with more robust and resilient infrastructure, could in future jeopardize public and private property and threaten the economic life of the community,” the resolution said.
If the port does receive the grant, it would help lay the foundation of funding for the project and make it so the port “can see a path forward,” Berg said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].