‘Positive support’ shown for Recompete grant

Port of PA extends lease with Homeland Security

PORT ANGELES — Port of Port Angeles staff participated in a meeting between the North Olympic Peninsula Recompete Coalition and the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of the process for applying for a $50 million grant that would create economic and employment opportunities in the area.

The port is a member of the coalition, which is made up of Clallam and Jefferson counties, cities, tribes and other entities. The coalition in one of 22 finalists competing for $200 million in Rebuilding Economies and Creating Opportunities for More People to Excel (RECOMPETE) Act funding.

Port grants and contracts manager Katharine Frazier said U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, who introduced the legislation for the Recompete Act in Congress, was on the June 4 call for the entire two-hour virtual meeting. She said Kilmer “showed positive support for our application” and that the Recompete program was his “highest priority.”

Frazier said the port’s focus on the feasibility and importance of barging came up indirectly during a discussion of the environmental benefits of the coalition’s project.

“It went back into our region’s economic history and learning from what’s worked in the past and why don’t we bring that back?” she said.

“Overall, it was a very good visit,” she said.

The North Olympic Peninsula Recompete Coalition will likely hear in late summer, most likely September, if it has received a grant, Frazier said.

“I think we stand as good a chance as anybody out there, if not better,” said Paul Jarkiewicz, the port’s executive director.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a five-year extension of a lease agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which has been a port tenant since 2009. Rent on the 6,028 square feet of office space will increase from $10,938.29 to $11,503 per month. The lease runs from June 25, 2024, to June 24, 2029.

Commissioners also approved a covenant of purpose, use and ownership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, that outlined restrictions for use of the Marine Trade Center.

Director of Engineering Chris Hartman said the covenant was a condition of accepting the the $7.28 million EDA grant, which funded development of the site.

Under the agreement, the port cannot sell or use the property for anything other than its intended purpose for the next 20 years,

Meanwhile, Jarkiewicz said the port has received quotes for a new log loader from Cascade Trader in Chehalis, and it is waiting on quotes from Caterpillar and John Deere.

At their May 28 meeting, commissioners learned from port staff the need to replace the port’s 18-year-old Doosan 225, which required costly repairs. They discussed the possibility of purchasing a bigger log loader that would be more efficient, but also more expensive.

Port staff have said a new Doosan (now Develon) log loader similar to the port’s would cost about $325,000 and a larger machine would cost about $450,000.

The Maritime Festival held June 8-9 at Port Angeles Boat Haven was the port’s first solo effort in producing the annual event after the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce ended its role as organizer last year.

Established in 2018, the festival celebrates the history and future of the maritime industry in Port Angeles and the North Olympic Peninsula. The festival was held in 2019 but was paused from 2020-2022 due to the COVID pandemic. It returned last year.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached by email at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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