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Barn building loses out on grant funding

Another attempt to secure funding for a building at the Greenbank Farm has failed.

Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, said during Wednesday’s commissioners’ meeting that the application for a grant through the state Public Works Board was rejected.

The port sought to receive $1.9 million from the board to pay for construction of a building that would house learning centers, a commercial kitchen and space for a year-round market.

Patton said that the port’s proposal was one of 211 projects throughout the state vying for the $9.5 million pot of money. He added that the biggest criteria preventing the port from being awarded the grant was the number of jobs the project would create.

“One of the biggest drivers was unemployment,” Patton said, pointing out that other parts of the state simply have higher unemployment rates than Whidbey Island.

The Public Works Board rated each of the grant proposals and the port’s ranked 167 out of 211.

Port officials had tried previously to get funding for the 10,000-square-foot building. The last time occurred during the previous legislative session.

With the grants being awarded, port officials will have to return to lobbying lawmakers.

“We’re going to have to wait for the state budget season in Olympia,” Patton said.

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