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Posted on: March 2, 2016

Port Supports Small Cities with Economic Development Funds

Four small cities in Whatcom County will get extra help with economic development projects this year. The Port’s Board of Commissioners has approved spending $75,000 in matching funds for projects in Blaine, Sumas, Ferndale, and Lynden.

“The Port’s mission is to fulfill the essential transportation and economic development needs of the region” said Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass. “Small cities in Whatcom County are faced with wide range of economic development challenges to develop infrastructure with limited resources. This program allows our small cities to leverage matching funds from the Port to implement job-creating projects to meet the cities’ long-term economic development goals.”

Since the fund was created in 2004, the Port has provided over $600,000 to small cities to advance projects ranging from street and utility extensions, retail market analysis, and downtown enhancements. Small cities have provided over $950,000 in matching funds and the program has leveraged over $20 million in local capital projects.

Here are the projects funded for 2016:

CITY OF BLAINE: $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $30,000 City cash match for the City to evaluate community attitude, infrastructure gaps and create an action plan for civic improvements in downtown Blaine, as well as other community project needs. The goal of the assessment is to create an environment for increased downtown business investment and activities.

CITY OF SUMAS: $15,000 in Port matching funds with a $15,000 City cash match to complete a circuit and fuse analysis for the City-owned electric utility. The project will create data to properly size fuses, register the City’s electric capacities to meet the needs of new customers and allow modern mapping of the electric system. The City serves a significant amount of power to industrial customers and this project will improve that service.

CITY OF FERNDALE: $20,000 in Port matching funds with an $80,000 City cash match to continue engineering work to support the construction of an extension of Thornton Road to connect to Interstate 5. The final $20+ million project will relieve traffic congestion on Main Street and provide direct access to 50 acres of commercial/industrial property as well as more direct I-5 access for Samson Rope.

CITY OF LYNDEN: $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $20,000 City cash match to address central street access to the City’s Historic Business Districts to develop expanded parking and support for community events in downtown Lynden. This project is the final planning phase of conceptual work the City has funded. The intended construction work will improve pedestrian and vehicle access to downtown as well as access to 25 acres of available commercial property.

The Port of Bellingham is a countywide independent government charged with pursuing economic development, operating transportation terminals, and being a steward of public lands and resources. The Port operates the Bellingham International Airport, the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, the Fairhaven Transportation Station and marinas in Bellingham and Blaine.

The Port’s contributions to Whatcom County’s include over 8,500 total jobs and $1.4 billion in business revenue.

For more information on the Small City Economic Development Fund, contact Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass at 360.676.2500

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