Oak Harbor, Coupeville port get .09 funds for projects

A sewer expansion, two roof repairs and a pond restoration are set to move forward with county Rural Economic Development grant funding.

The Island County Board of Commissioners met Wednesday to discuss applications from the City of Oak Harbor, Port of Coupeville, Port of South Whidbey and Island County Public Works for distribution of the money, also called .09 funds.

Oak Harbor will receive $646,200 for one of the two projects it submitted, a sanitary sewer expansion to extend services to Northeast 21st Court off Goldie Road.

The system, which will be within city limits, would allow existing businesses to free up land for expansion, according to the application.

The city also requested $1.71 million for construction of a pavilion and commercial kitchen at Windjammer Park.

The commissioners expressed a desire to help with the park but said they thought the project wasn’t appropriate for the .09 grant program, which is aimed at creating and retaining employment.

“That community park is torn apart,” Commissioner Jill Johnson said at the meeting.

“I’d love to get it back together as soon as possible. I’m not convinced that this is the right funding source for that.”

She said she would continue to work with the city to try and identify other sources of revenue and methods to fund the project.

Hannold suggested city officials had gotten “tunnel vision” while working on the sewer treatment plant and didn’t take the time to seek alternative funding sources.

The board accepted the three projects submitted by Port of Coupeville: $46,000 for pond restoration at Greenbank Farm, $18,000 for a barn roof replacement at the farm and $10,000 for truss repair on the Coupeville Wharf roof.

The pond project will remove and relocate accumulated sediment from the pond, which is the only nearby source of water for one of the barn’s fire suppression systems, according to the application. Too much water fowl waste is threatening to clog the fire suppression pumps and the filters used in the farm’s fields.

Roof repairs on historic Barn A are needed to fix more than 20 entry points for water, the application states.

The building is a busy event venue, with more than 30 events scheduled for 2018. The roof of another historic building, the Coupeville Wharf, has collapsed 12 inches in one section.

The commissioners identified these projects as significant and acknowledged the importance of timing so the issues don’t worsen.

“I think they’re all worthwhile,” Hannold said.

The commissioners also granted funds to a park and ride on Camano Island and said they were open to funding parts of Port of South Whidbey’s proposed fairground redevelopment after they receive clarification on what the port’s priorities are.

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