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The Port of Port Angeles received preliminary notice of a $1.5 Million grant award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. If awarded to the Port, the funds will be combined with at least $1.5 million of Port funds to perform major redevelopment to Terminal 1 over the next 2-3 years. “We are extremely pleased about the prospect of being awarded this competitive grant,” says the Port’s Director of Engineering, Chris Hartman. “The application required an intensive process including obtaining letters of support from businesses utilizing the marine terminal. This was a complete team effort from Port staff. It could potentially pay big dividends to the community by supporting much needed work on our primary marine structure.”
“Billions of dollars flow annually from the Federal government to local entities in the form of grants. These competitive grants come with a long list of requirements and lots of players have to come together to make it all work,” said Colleen McAleer, Port Director of Business Development. “Finding the right grant out of thousands that matches up with a project can be like finding a needle in a haystack. In our case, we had been working with the Economic Development Administration, or EDA, on grant opportunities in the composites manufacturing field. While nothing has yet materialized for composites, Washington State’s EDA representative contacted me about this grant and it matched closely with our marine terminal project.”
Local businesses that rely on the use of the terminal facility were asked to identify numbers of employees that might be retained or additionally hired if the terminal was improved using EDA funds. “Their response was gratifying,” commented Mike Nimmo, Marine Terminal Manager. “Waterfront dependent businesses are a huge focus for the future of the Port and its ability to build economic infrastructure. One measure we use for Terminal 1 is by counting the days that tankers are berthed and last year we had 118 tanker days. That meant work for teams of people applying their skills to make repairs or improvements on the ships. The Terminal also supports the Marine Spill Response Corporation vessels that are maintained around the clock to offer oil spill response services and mitigate damage to the environment. The wages earned support families and the Port is dedicated to supporting and expanding businesses and their employees. It’s all about jobs.”
The Olympic Peninsula has never received funding from this source. The letter received from EDA states that the Port’s application for funding of a construction project to rehabilitate a port terminal has been selected through EDA’s competitive application review process for further consideration for funding. It does not guarantee final approval to make an award. The Port is preparing final documents to be submitted but were told it will be late September before a final commitment is made. “Meanwhile,” as Port Commission President, Jim Hallett, says, “more grants will be worked on and, hopefully, a few of them will be hit out of the ballpark.” More information on the EDA grant can be found online at www.eda.gov.