Each year, the Port identifies several key strategic issues that often reach beyond a single line of business or program, and may require Port-wide actions and efforts for success. Work on these issues will likely span beyond 2014 into future years. The following are identified for 2014 as key to the Port's overall success in serving the community:
First Development Agreements for Waterfront District:
As this budget was being developed, the Port was anticipating adoption of the Waterfront District Master Plan and related agreements by the end of 2013. The Port also was negotiating a development agreement with a Master Developer for the first 10.8 acres of the Waterfront District. During 2014 a priority will be moving beyond planning and into redevelopment. This should include executing agreements for Phase 1 development, executing land transfers for Western Crossing – the shared Port / WWU development entity – and continuing site preparation work.
Continued Focus on Environmental Cleanups:
Charged with managing over a dozen environmental cleanup sites, the Port will focus on pursing efficient and effective processes that ensure quality cleanup projects move ahead in a timely manner. During 2014 the Port anticipates gaining final permits for the largest of these cleanups – the Whatcom Waterway – and beginning in-water work. The Port also will continue its efforts to secure stable MTCA funding for these projects.
Expansion of Marine Trades:
This is a significant industry sector in Whatcom County and the Port owns and manages many of the properties where Marine Trades businesses operate. The Port will focus on working with this business sector to promote its continued growth in 2014 and beyond by maintaining, improving, and expanding necessary shoreline infrastructure; providing additional up lands and in-water moorage areas to satisfy moorage demand; and by collaborating with Marine Trades businesses to promote this sector in Whatcom County.
Strategic Management of a Growing Airport:
The Bellingham International Airport $38 million terminal expansion will be completed early in 2014. Focus will be on developing additional revenue sources and managing the airport so that the rate of growth generates additional revenue without triggering excessive new costs. An emphasis will be on managing assets including the runway/taxiway system, aircraft aprons, parking lots and the expanded main passenger terminal. The Airport Master Plan Update, which should be adopted in 2014, will serve as a guide for prioritizing new capital projects.
Re-Development of the Bellingham Shipping Terminal and Log Pond Area:
With the progress on Bellingham Waterfront District Redevelopment planning, many zoning and development issues have been resolved, allowing an additional 20 acres to be utilized by the terminal. Phase I of the environmental cleanup of the Whatcom Waterway is scheduled to commence this year, which will provide for much needed dredging in front of the terminal. These factors position the Port to focus on seeking additional tenants and customers at the Bellingham Shipping Terminal and the adjacent Log Pond Area.
Stimulate Economic Development and Job Creation
The Port places a high priority on creation of new jobs, retention of existing jobs and stimulating private investment. During 2014 the Port will proactively manage recruitment and expansion opportunities and support business investment throughout the county. The Port also will directly support local economic development through funding partnerships.
Restoration and Repair of Aging Infrastructure:
The marine infrastructure in Port facilities is aging and in need of ongoing and extensive repairs. The Port will invest strategically in repairing its bulkheads, piers and pilings to ensure that they remain useful. When possible, the Port will seek added efficiencies in this investment by pairing it with related environmental cleanup or immediate business and tenant needs. In the next three years, the focus will be on repairs to the C Street Terminal on the Whatcom Waterway, the Harris Avenue Shipyard, the Bornstein’s pier and the Blaine marine industrial shoreline.