PT port to move ahead with stormwater project

Agency receives $3.1 million from state supplemental budget

PORT TOWNSEND — Port of Port Townsend commissioners voted unanimously to adjust the 2024 operating and capital budget and fast-track the $5.7 million Boat Haven stormwater improvement project to take advantage of $3.1 million the port received as part of the state supplemental budget signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The port originally had planned for a design, bidding and contract award phase, leading to construction in 2026, because not all of the funding was in place.

However, the new funding allows it to advance the start date to the end of this year, said Matt Klontz, director of capital projects.

Executive Director Eron Berg said hastening the timeline to have design work, advertising for bids, award and signing of the contract will also reduce the risk of losing $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act State & Local Fiscal Recovery funds that will be reapportioned if they are not obligated by Dec. 31.

Before approving the budget adjustment to accommodate the $5.7 million project and agreeing to the new timetable, commissioners expressed concern last Wednesday about the impact they would both have on the port and its operations.

“The cost of the engineering seems really high for what we’re doing,” commissioner Pete Hanke said. “And the cost of the project, we don’t really know what the cost of the project is, that bothers me. And, what is our anticipated plan for disruption in the yard?”

Berg said that although the port is paying a premium to have the project “happen now,” he said this would be mitigated by completing the project ahead of schedule and ahead of rising construction costs. Work would be conducted when it would have the least impact on tenants in the boat yard, he said, and commissioners would be kept apprised of the design process and cost estimates from project manager, Kennedy Jenks.

Berg reminded commissioners the present stormwater system had failed a couple of state Department of Ecology tests.

“We need a system where we’re passing the test every time,” he said.

Commissioner Carol Hasse said she had been persuaded that getting started on the project sooner rather than later was the better option for the port.

“If we don’t get it to happen this year, it will only cost more next year,” she said. “Not only will we lose the $2 million [in ARPA funds], but it will cost $8 million next year.”

Commissioners gave a first reading to proposed revisions for the port’s 2024 moorage rate card and its wait list process. Among the changes would be the elimination of the wait list category for boats 52 feet and longer and removing a “request to move” list that allowed people to be placed on the shortest wait list and then allowing them to move to a new wait list that was shorter.

Berg said the port would prepare a draft for a second reading at the next commissioner meeting on April 10. A copy of the first reading can be found in the meeting packet for the March 27 meeting at tinyurl.com/muryzuey.

An event celebrating the new Point Hudson breakwaters will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. April 24. Anticipated to be ready by that date will be an underwater camera the port is installing so people can watch sea creatures that were relocated from the south breakwater that was due for reconstruction to a new home not far away. A QR code will be used to access the images.

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

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