Port Townsend city manager offers wish list to boost economy

PORT TOWNSEND — City Manager David Timmons has released a $17.65 million wish list of projects to spur the economy in the wake of a lowered level of ferry service.

Only $1.35 million of the estimated cost of the proposed projects has been funded by federal, state, county or local grants.

Timmons said funding for the projects is still being worked out, but that the he hopes to receive matching state and federal money if the city uses REET and lodging taxes.

“Our strategy is to focus on capital investment to assist and leverage private investment over the next three years until we see full ferry service restored,” Timmons said.

“These are not random projects.

“They are part of a strategy to reinvest in community infrastructure that continues to support the economic vitality of the community.”

Road project proposals are San Juan and 49th streets, Discovery Road, the north end of Water street, Water street between Monroe and Madison streets, Madison street to Memorial Stadium, and Upper Sims Way along with the Howard Street Extension.

Tourism projects include Pope Marine Park downtown, the waterfront esplanade behind the police station, wave gallery relocation near the waterfront esplanade, the visitor center conversion of the old police building, and public access improvements near the Northwest Marine Center.

Timmons has equated the loss of the Steel Electric car ferries in November to a disaster equivalent to that of a bridge collapse.

A 50-car ferry, the Steilacoom II has temporarily replaced the larger Steel Electric car ferries on the Port Townsend-Keystone run.

The state has allocated $85 million to the construction of three ferries, one based on the Steilacoom II and the other two on a larger model: The Island Home that was designed in the Northwest but works on the East Coast.

The earliest the smaller new ferry could ply the route would by July 2009, with the first of the larger Island Home-style ferries expected to be in service by spring 2010.

Timmons hopes to see all of the proposed projects completed during the next three years.

“Completion of these will add capital investment to the economy, support private investment under way, and add value to the essential community anchors such as the [Northwest] Maritime Center, Fort Wordon [State Park] and Upper Sims commercial area,” he said.

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