The Port of Port Townsend intends to purchase a mobile home unit to act as a pilots’ lounge at the Jefferson County International Airport. (Port of Port Townsend)

The Port of Port Townsend intends to purchase a mobile home unit to act as a pilots’ lounge at the Jefferson County International Airport. (Port of Port Townsend)

Port of Port Townsend OKs pilot center

Mobile home will act as a lounge at Jefferson County International Airport

PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend commissioners initially approved using funds from the Industrial Development District earlier this month to purchase a mobile home that will act as a pilots’ lounge at the Jefferson County International Airport.

Executive Director Eron Berg, who took over the positon on Monday, put the project on hold Wednesday night due to “shifting economics.”

Commissioners unanimously voted March 11 to use Industrial Development District (IDD) funds for the improvement.

The cost of the mobile would range from $65,000 to $72,000, staff said.

Commissioner Pam Petranek hesitated because she did not want to act so quickly, but she voted for the project.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “It has been on the master plan since 2015.

“I don’t feel good about the urgency of being told to make a decision today, based upon a price change next week.”

Over the years, the Spruce Goose restaurant has opened its doors to provide a restroom for visiting pilots. However, the business closes at 4 p.m., making it unavailable for later flights.

Commissioners had previously discussed having a free-standing bathroom or building an airport terminal that would have an area for pilots to record their flight plans, but they couldn’t find appropriate funding resources at the time.

Staff suggested looking at an RV or mobile home, which would require minimum infrastructure support and would provide the necessities for visiting pilots, such as restrooms, coffee stations, desk space and a place to wait out of the elements for rides.

Ideally, the visitor center would open at the same time that the runway at the airport reopens, staff said.

IDD funds cannot be used for operations, so the port could not use the funds to pay a person to run the visitor center.

The funds are intended for capital and economic development and maintenance, which this facility would fall under, said staff members.

“I still believe that IDD funding should fund this. It’s something for District 2, and I want to make sure that IDD funds get spent around the county, not just at Point Hudson,” said former Executive Director Jim Pivarnik on March 11.

“It’s something that, I think, to have a facility out there with no restroom is really tragic. I think we really need to at least have that out there.”

According to the commissioners, the placement of the visitor center next to the control tower would minimize infrastructure costs as it would be very close to necessary hookups such as water, sewer and electricity.

The port was offered another building to transport and renovate to be a visitor center, but the cost would be more than buying a mobile unit, staff members said.

“There was an offer of a free building … but when we looked at the building and the transport and renovation of the building, we were at these kinds of numbers, it was just financially more advantageous to do it this way,” Commissioner Bill Putney said.

________

Jefferson County reporter Ken Park can be reached at 360-328-1601 or kpark@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in News

Two vehicles totaled, two transported to hospital

Two individuals were transported to the hospital after a two-car… Continue reading

A large brush fire that charred a vacant lot near 13th and K streets on the west side of Port Angeles on Monday underscores the current level of fire danger. (KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS)
Clallam County Fire Marshal upgrades burn ban

The Clallam County Fire Marshal has upgraded fire restrictions… Continue reading

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
A canoe from Ahousaht First nations of western Vancouver Island is hauled ashore by volunteers on Tuesday on Lower Elwha Clalllam land near the mouth of the Elwha River west of Port Angeles.
Power Paddlers bound for Puyallup

A canoe from Ahousaht First Nations of western Vancouver Island is hauled… Continue reading

Two banned from Port Angeles senior center

Outside food policy at center of controversy

Indigent defense caseloads may decrease

Local stakeholders express opposed perspectives on potential implications

Mike Chapman
State senate candidates debate policy differences

Chapman, Kelbon vie for 24th District

Marine sanctuary plans birthday festivities

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is inviting the… Continue reading

Construction night crews plan work on Highways 19 and 104

Work crews will be completing the construction of the… Continue reading

Public comment being sought on Project Macoma

The state Department of Ecology is collecting public comments… Continue reading

Jefferson County increases fire danger from ‘high’ to ‘very high’

Fire marshal cites months of drought conditions, increased risk of lightning

Animal board to help with dogs

Clallam County seeking solutions to Bark House closure

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Francis Charles leads tribal members in a ceremony across the length of the new Elwha River bridge, which opened Sunday afternoon. The tribal members dedicated the surface with cedar bows as members of the bridge crew watched from left. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Sweeping ceremony

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Francis Charles leads tribal members in a… Continue reading