Council chooses grant application projects

Oak Harbor decided to apply for county grants to fund dredging of the marina and other projects.

Oak Harbor city leaders decided to apply for county grant money to fund dredging of the marina, construction of pickleball courts, remodeling of The Center’s parking lot and sewer expansion in the northern part of the city.

At a May 2 city council meeting, City Administrator Blaine Oborn presented a list of possible projects that qualified for Rural County Economic Development grants. These Island County grants are offered to local governments for economic development, such as for public facilities that assist businesses in creating or retaining jobs, retaining or expanding businesses within the county, attracting new businesses and supporting a stable and diversified local economy.

Oborn said council should pick two or three projects from the list. He recommended applying for $2 million for marina dredging and improvements, $420,500 for The Center’s parking lot remodel and $200,000 for pickleball courts.

Councilmember Bryan Stucky said that the $2 million grant for the marina dredging would only partially fund the project. If the city was awarded the grant, he was concerned the city may not have enough money to complete the project.

Councilmember Jim Woessner said that the marina dredging and pickleball courts were both “economic drivers” and met the requirements of the grant.

Councilmember Eric Marshall, however, said he did not know if all of the projects would help private businesses and qualify for a Rural County Economic Development Grant.

“Right now, what we’re talking about is pretty much helping the city,” he said.

Marshall thought the North Oak Harbor sewer expansion would qualify for the grant. He pointed out that council could ask for the first two years of unsecured funding for the sewer expansion which would amount to $450,000. He said he did not want to ask the county for the full amount and “scare them away.”

Oborn said the full cost of the sewer extension is estimated at $5.5 million.

Marshall made a friendly amendment to change the amount of the sewer expansion by $450,000, which passed unanimously. The motion to approve the grant applications also passed unanimously.