PORT TOWNSEND — City officials are considering a shift of public infrastructure funds to cover a shortfall for a regional stormwater facility.
Construction of an infiltration pond off Mill Road just north of the Larry Scott Trail would provide the opportunity for commercial growth between Howard and Rainier streets in Port Townsend, where a subarea plan was approved last year, interim Public Works director David Peterson said.
Public Infrastructure Fund
But the City Council would need to approve a request to approach Jefferson County’s Public Infrastructure Fund board to move $300,000 from a separate project that no longer is a high priority, Peterson said Monday during a council workshop.
It’s the best option for stormwater runoff with new development due to hard-pan soils off Rainier Street, Peterson said.
“The idea was conceived because the last remaining commercial properties in the city have very impermeable soils,” he said.
A pipeline would extend from an existing stormwater retention pond off Evans Vista to the proposed area, which would be outside of city limits in unincorporated Jefferson County, Peterson said.
The project has been in the works for the past five years, with $1.2 million of the total $1.36 million coming from a state Department of Commerce grant through the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB).
In today’s dollars, the city is about $210,000 short of a projected $1.57 million cost, Peterson said.
If council approves Tuesday — city offices will be closed in observance of Presidents’ Day on Monday — Peterson could apply to the county’s Public Infrastructure Fund (PIF) board next week.
The proposal would be to shift $300,000 in previously approved funds that were earmarked for development at Seventh and Rainier streets.
That was said to be the location where the Mount Townsend Creamery was going to expand its operations and become an anchor tenant of the new business district, but its owners announced plans last month to close due to ongoing maintenance costs.
Peterson said that’s why the project at Seventh and Rainier is no longer the top priority.
Deputy Mayor David Faber raised the point that the PIF board also would need to approve.
Use of those funds are required to show economic impact, Peterson said.
“I don’t think we’ll have a hard time demonstrating this would be a benefit to the PIF,” he said.
The city also has spent some of the funds from the CERB grant on the stormwater project — almost half, Peterson said — and council doesn’t want to abandon it.
“It would be pretty detrimental to pull the plug at this point in time,” Faber said.
If council and the PIF board approve, Peterson said the infiltration pond could be out to bid this spring and construction finished by the end of the summer.
Council member Owen Rowe asked about the proposed “aggressive marketing plan” for development in the Rainier Street area as the city has laid the foundation for growth with its subarea plan.
“Having infrastructure in place is a big one,” Peterson answered.
Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at email@example.com.