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Posted on: March 8, 2017

Port Provides Economic Development Grants to Whatcom County's Small Cities

The Port Commission has authorized $65,000 in cost sharing funds to support economic development projects in Blaine, Lynden, Ferndale and Everson.  The funding is offered as part of the Port’s small cities economic development program, which supports and leverages projects stimulating private investment and jobs in the six small cities of Whatcom County.

“An important part of the Port’s mission is to promote economic development throughout the region” said Port Commission President Dan Robbins.  “This program is a terrific resource for the smaller cities of Whatcom County to address local economic development needs.”

“We really appreciate the Port of Bellingham’s willingness to partner with our City on important community development projects” said Everson Mayor John Perry.  “The Port’s Small City Development Fund has been vital in our light industrial and commercial development.”

Since the matching fund was created in 2004, the Port has provided over $650,000 to small cities to advance projects ranging from downtown enhancements, street and utility extensions, and retail market analysis.  The small cities have provided over $1 million in matching funds and the program has leveraged over $45 million in local capital project funding.

“We were the first Port in the state to start such a program” said Port Economic Development Specialist Dodd Snodgrass.  “Our small cities have been successful leveraging these funds from the Port to encourage development in their communities, and now other Washington Ports have replicated the program for their communities.” 

Here are the projects funded for 2017:

CITY OF BLAINE:  $15,000 in Port matching funds with a $15,000 City cash match to design an access to downtown properties on the west side of Peace Portal Drive along an existing easement.  Once constructed by the City and/or private developers, the alley access will facilitate development of vacant and underutilized buildings.  Building owners have expressed support for this project. 

CITY OF EVERSON:  $20,000 in Port matching funds with a $20,000 City cash match to provide engineering support for the Lincoln Street improvement projects.  The City has secured state and federal grant funds for the construction project but has a gap in construction engineering funds.  The Phase 1 project benefits existing local employers on the west side of the City, and will connect to developable property via a Phase 2 project.

CITY OF FERNDALE:  $15,000 in Port matching funds with a $15,000 City cash match to fabricate new visitor and business signs based on design work underway by the City.  The project is intended to create more destination opportunities for Pioneer Village and contribute to a heritage tourism development program.

CITY OF LYNDEN:  $15,000 in Port matching funds with a $15,000 City cash match to evaluate cleanup, redevelopment and funding options for a closed City landfill in West Lynden.  The evaluation will provide direction for the City to reclaim the 8 acre site into buildable industrial land.

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